SLAH Women’s Outdoor Weekend empowers women, encourages them to enjoy the outdoors
Tim Brody - Editor
The Sioux Lookout Anglers and Hunters hosted their sixth annual Women's Outdoor Weekend from July 19 to 21, introducing 13 participants to a variety of outdoor activities.
“This weekend is about giving outdoor knowledge and space so the women can grow their personal power,” shared Dorothy Broderick, who organized this year’s event.
Broderick broke down the weekend sharing, “Saturday we were out at our archery range where we had the women rotating in groups through all the courses, which consisted of learning how to handle ATVs with Jeremy Funk, archery on our 3D targets with Michele and Kevin Vardy, building a basic survival shelter and making a small fire with Dorothy Broderick, and timbersports such as chainsaw use, axe throwing, tree climbing, and log running with Tara Pettit. We are most grateful to Loretta Jacobson Bilous who came from the Dryden outdoors club with some of her equipment and assisted Kevin and myself with the food and cleanup at the archery range.
“Sunday we took the women shore fishing. There they practiced casting, unsnagging, untangling line, and building a fire for a shore lunch. After that, we headed to the firearms and kayaking courses. The women were split into two groups. At the gun range the women learned basic safety and handgun use with the opportunity to try out different calibers of handguns. Then they moved to long guns where they learned more basic safety and had the opportunity to try out a variety of calibers of long guns. The firearms portion of the day was sponsored in part by the Canadian Coalition for Firearms Rights (CCFR). At the range we were also joined by Morgan Swant, president of the Sioux Lookout Handgun and Rifle Club and by Kelly Merke, secretary of SLHRC who assisted Kevin, Michele, Loretta, and Jeremy with range officer duties. Some of the women turned out to be natural deadeye shots! Our kayaking course was taught by Sheri Crispino at the Forest Inn Beach, thank you to them for letting us use it for the course. There the ladies learned how to handle the kayaks, how to roll them, how to get back in if they fell out, then they went for a nice paddle.”
Participants said they had a wonderful weekend.
“It was my third year participating in the SLAH WOW and if you haven't tried it, I would highly recommend it! Especially to those who are new to town, or to the outdoors, this event provides a safe environment to try new activities. The volunteers are absolutely amazing and this event wouldn't happen without them,” said Tiana Korobanik.
Andrea DeGagne commented, “The SLAH WOW weekend was a great experience. The weekend allowed me to meet other like-minded people who are interested in pursuing outdoor recreation, and the event provided a safe space to explore different activities, no matter what my current skill level. The amount of coordination and planning that went into making the weekend a success is evident, a huge thank you to Dorothy Broderick and all her volunteers. It was a weekend packed full of fun and learning, and a great kick-start to getting introduced to the outdoor community and activities that make summer in Sioux Lookout a real treasure.”
Rebecca Tibbs shared, “I’ve learned so many new skills and met so many wonderful people through the WOW. I’m hooked! Will definitely be back next year.”
Lacey Rae added, “The women's outdoor weekend has been my favorite Sioux experience thus far. Very well organized. These people are truly amazing and talented. The knowledge and friends that I've made are worth much more than the ticket price. I encourage every woman to sign up.”
Instructors also had positive things to say about the weekend.
Kelly Merke stated, “Among the best kept secrets I've found in our community are the people that have spent a lifetime keeping and maintaining a local sport shooting venue. On discovering this pastime, and the people whom enjoy it, it also becomes clear that a lot of folks let time go by without ever experiencing the pleasures to be had developing skills like marksmanship. Kudos to the participants for breaking from their routines to take on new challenges and open their minds to new experiences. You all did wonderfully. I hope everyone considers getting their PAL/RPAL and joining the 2.2 million Canadians who are already safe and responsible firearm owners.”
Jeremy Funk commented, “The Women's Outdoor Weekend is an all-around good time. Since we (The Sioux Lookout Anglers and Hunters) started this program here, the highlight for me year after year as a volunteer instructor, is watching the ladies challenge themselves, push their limits, try new things and step out of their comfort zones. The structure of each activity focuses on safety first and then teaches new or builds on existing skills in a fun manner. It's learning by doing at its best, and this year’s group surpassed our expectations and some of their own. Hats off to the women of SLAH WOW 2019.”
“We are most grateful to SLAH's president Cory Lago and everyone on the Walleye Weekend committee whose work funds this weekend and to everyone behind the scenes who loans us equipment or helps in other ways,” Broderick shared.
“The aim of WOW is to encourage more women to get outdoors and try out new things in a way that they might not always have the opportunity to try. Some of our past participants have gone on to purchase ATVs, or gotten their PAL/RPAL and joined SLHRC, or taken on teaching courses for us, or jumped in and become part of what SLAH does in the community. We are planning on running WOW again next year, same weekend in July. New participants and past participants welcome to join us for another fun weekend,” she concluded.