The 5th annual Kinzua Allegheny Women in the Outdoors event was held Saturday at Chapman State Park. This year, about 127 women registered to learn new skills from some of the leading experts in the area.
Women in the Outdoors, an outreach program of the National Wild Turkey Federation, was created to bring women together and get them outside to learn and experience new things. The day started with registration at 8 a.m. and wrapped up around 5:30 p.m. Luckily, the rain held off for most of the day and the sun was enjoyed through the fast-moving clouds. The event planners continue to add new things each year to make the day the best it can possibly be.
Event coordinator Jessica Arnold said, "When we first started we had about 60 women and no tents or anything that we have now, so each year has been a lesson and learning experience to prepare for the future."
Photo by Gary Lester
Participants and volunteers of the 5th annual Kinzua Allegheny Women in the Outdoors event gather for a group photo in between classes on Saturday.
Aaron Uber of Allegheny Outfitters helps give Fritz Lecker, of St. Marys, a boost during a kayaking lesson.
Jean Gomory, of Warren, receives tips on proper form while throwing a tomahawk axe from instructor Arron Hogue.
Photos by Kara White
Stephanie Freitag, of Warren, shoots at targets with a rifle while instructor Frank Brown looks on.
Claudia Jakim, of Kane, holds her pistol steady during the Shooting Sports class.
Missy Turner, of Warren, paddles her sit-in kayak to join the others on Chapman Lake while receiving last-minute words of advice from Allegheny Outfitters owner Josh Lindell.
Word has spread over the years as more women bring their friends, sisters, mothers and daughters to share the day together. Participants come from all over the area, such as St. Marys, Kane, Bradford and Fredonia, NY, just to name a few and for most women, it wasn't their first time.
While taking a break in between classes, Heidi Bird, of the Jamestown area, said, "We did this last year and we had so much fun that we really wanted to come back and do it again."
One of the hardest things about the event is probably choosing from the long list of classes to take since there are many interesting choices. A few examples of the near 30 programs were Fishing 101, Lotions and Potions, Kayaking, Golf, Dutch Oven, Geocaching, Basic Car Care, Jewelry Making, Knot Tying, Outdoor Survival, Self Protection, Shooting Sports, Tai Chi and Metal Detecting.
During lunch, there was plenty of time to grab some barbecue chicken, a drink and sign up for the many door prizes and items from the silent auction and Chinese auction sponsored by the National Wild Turkey Federation. Live music was the entertainment and games were played while everyone had a chance to escape the hot sun, rehydrate and sit underneath the shaded tents.
The feedback received from this year's event was instantly positive and Arnold could not thank enough the other committee members, instructors, volunteers and local businesses whose time and contributions to program ads and goodie bags made the event a success.
"The Warren County Council of Sportsmen really helped me put this together, not to mention everyone who volunteered to make it happen," Arnold said. "Everyone that's here helping is here because they want to be. I've met so many great people here."