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Women Hit the Woods
NRA's eight-day Women's Wilderness Escape is a camp like none other
By Kevin Reese
Many studies have been conducted, and the overwhelming conclusion is that the number of women venturing beyond the sidewalk in search of traditional sporting opportunities has grown significantly over the past decade; however, while many women are venturing into the woods, countless more don't know where to begin. So, if you are a member of this ill-informed majority, read on to learn more about how to take advantage of future opportunities to attend the National Rifle Association (NRA) Women's Wilderness Escape (WWE).
Launched in 2008, this eight-day camp is led by some of the nation's most experienced instructors and is dedicated to introducing women, ages 18 and older, regardless of experience level, to the countless forms of outdoor recreation awaiting them, all of which relate directly or indirectly to our shooting and hunting traditions.
During WWE, participants learn fundamental techniques for effectively employing handguns, rimfire and centerfire rifles, shotguns, muzzleloading rifles and bows in a wide array of applications including fun shooting, competitions and even mock hunting situations. Instructors work diligently to create safe and comfortable environments for campers to learn; by many accounts, that comfort has been largely absent in past clinics dominated by a male ideology.
Offhand rifle shooting is only one of the skills taught at NRA's Women's Wilderness Escape.
"I immediately began to relax and build some confidence." noted Judy Foore-Flasco, a 2009 WWE participant. "It was also refreshing to see that many of our instructors would be women; women from the industry, women from the NRA, and women who had competitively shot."
Expert instructors focus on safety as the overwhelming theme throughout WWE while imparting knowledge related to their individual skill sets in a manner consistent with promoting the growth of women outdoors.
WWE expert instructor, Lisa Metheny, notes, "As one of the inaugural instructors and now going on my fourth year of instructing, I have been privileged to see how the Women' Wilderness Escape can and does change the lives of the women who attend. The best part about WWE is that you don't need any experience to attend and you don't need to purchase any equipment. Everything is provided for the ladies to experience a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I have been a part of this program from the beginning, and I can tell you that nothing else compares to it. Women leave WWE with new skills, new attitudes about guns and shooting and scores of new friends, not to mention memories of a week spent at the Whittington Center, which is like no other place in America."
NRA's Whittington Center, in Raton, N.M., plays host to WWE events and is perched on the doorstep of the 33,000-acre WWE training area. Many regard Whittington Center as the nation's premier, and most pristine, shooting complex; says Metheny. Her past students and fellow instructors agree. If you have an interest in shooting or hunting and are looking for a comfortable place to learn, few events boast as many learning opportunities as WWE.
The fee for WWE is $1,500 and includes all meals, lodging, workshops, learning materials, ammunition, protective equipment, firearms and archery equipment. While WWE camps for 2011 are full, applications are currently being accepted for both 2012 WWE camps.
Complete details about WWE, including requests for more information and applications, are available by visiting the NRA WWE web page or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The NRA also offers an array of other great programs for women. To learn more visit the NRA Women's Programs web page.