Hello and Happy Sunday West Main Followers!
Today on the blog I am sharing a few highlights from my weekend retreat of camping, crafting, and socializing with 100+ women from around Ohio.
On Friday afternoon I headed north out of Columbus just over an hour to Pleasant Valley Ranch, a camp retreat where I would be spending my weekend with Women in the Outdoors, a program implemented by the National Wild Turkey Federation. This is the third time in four years that I have attended the event, and each time I am so thankful that I was introduced to such a great program for women!
Four years ago when I was working in an outdoor store, I was asked to teach backpacking skills and camp cooking at the event. To be honest, I was a little nervous the first year I attended. I didn’t know a single person, and most women were hunters and members of the NWTF, both topics I knew little about. I left that year with so many new friends, new knowledge of the organization, and an excitement to attend future events.
So what all takes place at this event? Participants can choose 5 classes to attend throughout the weekend, with over 30 class options to choose from. Evenings can be spent around a campfire, playing bingo, learning to line dance, or honing your survival skills in a two-part, overnight survival course.
There are also prizes– so many raffles, games, and silent auctions. This year women took home everything from one of a kind guns to 5 day vacations in Cancun. Sadly my luck has yet to hit in the games department, but maybe next year!
Just look at all those raffle prizes!
The silent auction tables are equally full of goodies.
Stab a Turkey is always a highlight– pull a knife of your choice and the attached raffle ticket gets you entered to win a gun.
Sunday morning the dining hall fills up quickly as all the women line up their raffle tickets in hopes of a big win.
Curious as to what types of classes are offered? Everything from crafts and essential oils, to gun maintenance and urban survival. 2 years ago I took the basic archery class and it was so much fun I signed up for it again this year.
Instructed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the 2 hour course walks participants through the basics of archery. After covering the 11 steps to proper form and shooting, we were given plenty of time to give it a try on the targets.
Classes are small, so the four of us got plenty of instruction and advice from the 2 ODNR officers teaching our class.
I don’t like to brag, but I’m a pretty good shot, having only tried this twice!! 🙂
I also had the chance to take a class on air plants, which was so much fun! Our instructor provided all the supplies to create a mini garden for our air plants to rest in.
These turned out so cute, and were simple to make. I will definitely be hosting a girls night where we can make these up for ourselves, or as Christmas gifts.
This year I shared my DIY skills at camp by teaching two sessions of my Fabric Scrap Wooden Serving Tray. If you have been following my blog, you may remember me sharing the steps to make one of these here.
One of my favorite parts of camp is getting to spend so much time outdoors. We put together our trays on picnic tables on the large front porch of the camp.
Each participant chose from the fabric scraps I brought and cut out their own unique pattern.
Modge podge was used to secure the fabric to the wood rounds.
The best part of teaching is that I get a chance to meet so many of the women at camp, but I also get to see their creative skills at work. Each class is 2 hours in length so there is plenty of time to learn a new skill and also get to know other women in the group.
Once their fabric and modge podge dried, each participant drilled their handles in place and now they have a fun DIY from camp that can be used year round at home.
Arriving home this afternoon, I was totally exhausted from the whirlwind of camp, but now as I look back at pictures, it makes me wish we had one more day of camp fun!
One thing I haven’t mentioned that deserves attention is the fact that this program is run completely by VOLUNTEERS! All teachers are volunteer, prizes are donated, even participants themselves chip in with tasks like helping check in new campers, and hauling goods to camp. The NWTF itself is a non-profit with proceeds going to conserve wildlife habitats throughout the nation.
Are you as excited about next year’s camp as I am? Interested in learning more about the program? Click here to learn about the Women in the Outdoors. Once on the NWTF’s page, you can also search their “events” tab for women-specific events in your area. Each state has a similar event, so you can check your state for upcoming events near you.
After such a fun and jam-packed weekend of activity, I will be doing some camp recovery on my couch this evening. Tomorrow will be back to DIY mode, and I am already thinking about what craft classes could be fun for camp next year.
What craft would you like to see at camp? Any suggestions? Share them in the comments below!