Alaska Department of Fish and Game
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Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW)
Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) are hands-on workshops that teach adults outdoor skills while building their confidence in their ability to get out and safely enjoy all that the outdoors has to offer. BOW helps women grow and become more confident by offering classes in an encouraging, supportive, and non-competitive learning environment. BOW classes are kept small so that participants receive plenty of one-on-one interaction with friendly, supportive instructors. No experience is necessary and BOW is for adults of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. Alaska BOW has had participants ranging in age from 18 to 85. BOW attendees enjoy camaraderie with others and experience what many call a life-changing, fun-filled weekend. While BOW is targeted at women, men are welcome to participate as well.
A minimum of three BOW workshops are held each year in locations such as Anchorage (winter), Fairbanks (summer), and Southeast Alaska (spring). In appreciation and recognition of those who serve in our armed forces, BOW workshops have also been conducted on military bases for active duty personnel and their families. Class offerings at BOW workshops vary according to season but focus on three areas: shooting/hunting, fishing/boating, and other outdoor activities.
The workshops span a weekend, beginning at noon on Friday and ending around 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon. The weekend is divided into four instructional sessions, that are three and a half hours each. Participants choose from a variety of classes such as big game hunting, field dressing, spin and fly fishing, snow machining, archery, dog mushing, kayaking, skijoring, cross-country skiing, canoeing, canning and smoking fish, wild edible plants, survival, map and compass, tracking and trapping, and outdoor cooking. Classes are hands-on and include time outdoors.
Evenings at a weekend workshop are filled with fun and camaraderie. There may be activities such as campfires, "round robin" skill stations, fish and game tasting opportunities, BOW Olympics, outdoor clothing fashion shows, or special guest presentations. Participants are encouraged to enjoy the social side that comes with outdoor activities and to make connections with like-minded individuals whom they may be able to enjoy outdoor activities with after the workshop ends.
Beyond BOW events are targeted at providing the next step in practicing newfound skills outside of the initial workshop experience. We recognize that becoming a confident, independent outdoors person is a process that is developed over time. Beyond BOWs are venues to practice and hone the basic skills learned at a BOW weekend workshop in the real world, while still having supportive instructors on hand to coach and encourage them. Beyond BOWs build on the beginner’s skills, teach more advanced skills, and may be conducted almost entirely in an outdoors setting.
Beyond BOWs may also focus on a skill that takes more time to teach than is available in a traditional BOW weekend workshop, such as knife making, rod building, saltwater fishing, or small and large game hunting.
Beyond BOWs may take place in one afternoon, occur over a weekend, or take place over several evenings. While BOW weekend workshops are only for adults over the age of 18, Beyond BOWs may occasionally be tailored to families.
BOW and Beyond BOW offerings are made possible by a cooperative effort between the Alaska Department of Fish & Game and the Outdoor Heritage Foundation of Alaska.