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July 11, 2018 » IndyBlog

Outdoor skills program with female focus comes to Colorado 

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According to the American Camp Association's Sites, Facilities, and Programs Report from 2017, there are more than 14,000 day and overnight camps throughout the country. But once you reach a certain age, going to summer camp isn't so much a possibility anymore. Still, that doesn't mean you can't learn the skills acquired at camp later on in life. In fact, many outdoors skills programs are increasing their inclusivity by creating courses specifically for women who want to gain both knowledge and confidence in this area.

In Colorado, a "Cast and Blast" weekend workshop will take place July 13-15. Sponsored by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the program is geared towards women who wish to improve outdoor skills and learn more about local wildlife. During the weekend, they'll learn the basics of archery, shotgun shooting, fly fishing, wildlife watching and management, camping, and more.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife will supply all necessary equipment, but participants are welcome to bring some of their own equipment if they choose; they must provide their own camping gear, however. Participants must obtain a current Colorado fishing license to take part in the workshop.

Although wild salmon provides a lot of nutrients and has approximately 13 grams of fat in half a fillet, the women who learn how to fly fish are more likely to see fish that are actually native to Colorado, including trout, bass, and pike. But even if they don't catch anything, there's no need to fear, as food will be provided (except for those with dietary restrictions).

The program, which requires a $40 deposit, is limited to 15 to 20 participants and organizers hope to attract women who have little to no experience, in particular.

"This program is designed for women and provides a very supportive atmosphere for those who want to learn about fishing, hunting, and wildlife," explained, Kelly Crane, district wildlife manager in Ouray, CO.

But Colorado isn't the only place you'll find these women-specific workshops. The New York State Department of Conservation is hosting an outdoor skills workshop for women, entitled "Becoming an Outdoors-Woman," from September 7-9. Their itinerary includes some quirkier fare, including learning how to do yoga on a paddleboard, trying a hand at nature photography, foraging for wild food, and bowhunting. In Pennsylvania, an expansive Women in the Outdoors program, which is open to women ages 14 and up, takes place on a yearly basis that includes everything from camping and hunting to canine first aid and outdoor cooking. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries also recently hosted a Women's Fishing Workshop for 15 participants.

Still, women who embrace outdoors skills aren't considered to be in the majority. Though the number of women who hunt has increased in recent years, there's still a fairly significant gender gap in terms of participation in outdoor recreation. But perhaps, the growing prevalence of programs like these could change all that.

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