It just occurred to me today that I didn't blog about this.
Back over spring break, I packed up the car and headed out past Chickaloon to join a bunch of other women at the annual Winter BOW Workshop. BOW stands for Becoming an Outdoors Woman, and mostly women take the class (although men can, and we did have one man there). I took a class through this program in the fall, a one-day long field dressing course that let me learn how to break down an elk before we went out for big game.
In the weekend-long version, the classes are shorter, but you do four classes over the space of the weekend. Then, if you want to learn more, you can go to the longer classes like the field dressing one I took.
The classes cover a wide variety of skills in three broad categories - hunting, fishing, and other. Topics range from snow machining to outdoors survival to marksmanship to fly fishing. They're really great for getting people involved with things they might never have tried, in a low-stress environment. If you've got a BOW program in your state (many do!) I highly recommend checking it out.
I skipped the hunting and shooting classes this time around, despite being quite tempted by the shotgun course, in favor of Ice Fishing, Bait and Bobber, Fur Sewing, and Dog Mushing. They were all great fun - especially dog mushing. I even got to use a sled that had actually been used in last year's Iditarod! If I had unlimited money and didn't have to work, I'd become a musher, but it is an incredibly time-intensive and expensive hobby!
Fur sewing was also pretty nifty. I made a beaver headband, and now on my own I'm working on a cross-fox trapper's hat.
Anyway, I really enjoyed the program, as did all of the instructors. If you're looking for some volunteer work, or just wanting to learn something new, check it out.