When I first started blogging, I had quite a few questions about how to get started. The first person to send me great advice and encouragement was Othmar at his blog Outdoors with Othmar Vohringer. He is VERY encouraging of women participation in outdoor activities, as evidenced by his recent post on "The Rise of the Huntress". In it he says, "The rise of the huntress has made our hunting heritage a true family affair that can involve the children and both parents, which has helped hunting to become a family activity." I recommend that you check out the full text of the post and his blog. He describes himself and his blog by saying, "Hunting and fishing is much more to me than just a pastime. It’s a way of life! This blog is dedicated to this way of life and the promotion of our rich North American outdoor heritage." You'll enjoy the quality writing in his posts, and the variety of hunting and fishing-related topics!
Phew - the work is halfway done! I'm volunteering to co-coordinate a Women in the Outdoors event for our area. In my previous posts on Starting an Event, Choosing a Site, Selecting Courses, I describe how we ironed out all the detail of when, where and what. Next we are working on the "Who?". Who will attend? Well, no one is going to attend unless you promote the event!
The Women in the Outdoors organization provides great colorful posters for giving event details and contact information. In addition, we glued pamphlet holders to each poster and stuck 8-12 pamphlets in each one. these posters are placed, with permission, at various locations including: gas stations, grocery stores, fitness centers, retail stores, libraries. I did check back at a few of these places and had to re-fill the pamplets. The fitness centers seemed to do the best.
Word of mouth is a great way to get participants. Both of us had people we knew personally send in registrations, which was great! I also set up a small display in the lobby of a local Gander Mountain store and handed out brochures to women. It worked better when I just handed a brochure to each woman, rather than asking if they wanted one.
We also did the standard promotions of registering our event on websites, and sending a press release to local magazines and newspapers. We did get good results from the newspaper coverage - several people called me from that. For us, it was a good idea to double check the website registrations. We asked for our brochure to be uploaded to the national Women in the Oudoors website. I later checked it and saw that some of the page breaks were offset and the brochure wouldn't turn out right when printed. So we had them re-upload the brochure. And thank goodness! I heard from one woman that she found our event by checking the national site. She also mentioned that she only looked at the events that had their brochure on the website, and disregarded those that didn't have the brochure readily available.
Almost right away, the registrations started pouring in! Check my next post for how our fundraising efforts went!
Flatwater Kayak: The events include "K-2 500m (kayak double) Women ", "K-1 500m (kayak single) Women", and "K-4 500m (kayak four) Women", each referencing the number of women in the kayak and distance of the race. According to the "Official website of the Olympic Movement" (http://www.olympic.org/), flatwater racing is based in pure speed on the course and requires a calm water surface. Competitors are assigned to lanes.
Slalom Kayak: In slalom kayak racing, paddlers navigate through sets of poles called "gates" which are set-up amongst challenging rapids, currents, and eddies. In that there are similarities to slalom skiiing. Winners will complete the course in the shortest time, with the fewest penalties. Penalty times are added to the overall course time if the paddler touches one of the poles or misses a gate altogether. The event is called the Women's K1, and has traditionally been a 300-meter course.
If you don't know what the Iditarod is, take a moment to smack yourself on the forehead......done? OK. The Iditarod is a THRILLING dog-sled "race over 1150 miles of the roughest, most beautiful terrain Mother Nature has to offer. She throws jagged mountain ranges, frozen river, dense forest, desolate tundra and miles of windswept coast at the mushers and their dog teams. Add to that temperatures far below zero, winds that can cause a complete loss of visibility, the hazards of overflow, long hours of darkness and treacherous climbs and side hills, and you have the Iditarod. A race extraordinaire, a race only possible in Alaska." (Per their own description, which I couldn't have said any better!) The Iditarod is ran partially in commemoration of a heroic event. In 1925, diphtheria threatened epidemic-stricken Nome, Alaska. Life saving serum was delivered through the extreme efforts of dog mushers and their hard-working sled dogs. This Jr. Iditarod print you see here is by well known Alaskan Artist, David Totten, and is available for sale in limited quantities at their website as a fundraiser for the Jr Iditarod Scholarship Fund.
According to the Iditarod's musher listing, this year's "Women of the Iditarod 2008" are:
Bib # - Name - City - State
3 - Jessie Royer - Fairbanks - AK
17 - Aliy Zirkle - Two Rivers - AK
19 - Karen Ramstead - Perryvale - Canada
21 - Deborah Bicknell - Auke Bay - AK
23 - Jessica Hendricks - Two Rivers - AK
24 - Sigrid Ekran - Norway
27 - Sue Allen - Wasilla - AK
29 - Laura Daugereau - Port Gamble - WA
39 - DeeDee Jonrowe - Willow - AK
40 - Silvia Willis - Deshka River - AK
47 - Heather Siirtola - Talkeetna - AK
55 - Rachael Scdoris - Bend - OR
59 - Melissa Owens - Nome - AK
60 - Jennifer Freking - Finland - MN
62 - Molly Yazwinski - Fairbanks - AK
72 - Sue Morgan - Richmond - UT
75 - Liz Parrish - Klamath Falls - OR
79 - Kim Franklin - United Kingdom
82 - Cindy Gallea - Seeley Lake - MT
86 - Kelley Griffin - Wasilla - AK
88 - Anne Capistrant - Healy - AK
89 - Zoya DeNure - Gakona - AK
You can track their progress and results on the race page of the Iditarod website. There are also some mushers that withdrew according to the Iditarod's musher listing. The projected race finish is March 11 or 12 in Nome. Good luck ladies!!
Have you heard of Adventure Racing? I think it's a really great sport for the outdoorswoman, since it can combine a variety of outdoor skills that you may already do regularly! According to Wikipedia, adventure racing is described as "a combination of two or more disciplines, including orienteering and navigation, cross-country running, mountain biking, paddling and climbing and related rope skills. An expedition event can span ten days or more while sprints can be completed in a matter of hours." Wikipedia also explains the history of it, but you may recognize some of the more popular events such as Mark Burnett's Eco-Challenge, and PrimalQuest. Most adventure races are team events, and team attitude and coordination can be the make or break "talent" rather than say, great biking, or fast paddling! There are many many women already doing this, and some events require co-ed teams.
Have any of you tried adventure racing? I'm thinking about trying it out next year at a small local event. I think it sounds really fun and....adventurous!
I have an update on our event planning for Women in the Outdoors! (Previous posts here and here.) We finalized our volunteer instructors and pinned down which courses we are going to offer. Attendees will rank their choices (1-8) on the sign up sheet, and will get 4 of their 8 choices. That is subject to class size, instructor availability, etc. There may be some cancellations which would affect that. But hopefully not!! Here's our class list:
Improv Acting/Humor Coaching
Dutch Oven Cooking
Learning about Raptors
What would be your top 4 selections?? The next step is to create our sign-up brochure and get it out into the community. I'll let you know what are the popular choices in a future post!