I’m excited (and a bit nervous) for next weekend. I’ll be away from home for a three-day workshop organized by Georgia DNR. “Becoming an Outdoors Woman,” is an annual program that invites women to Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center where they learn about outdoor recreation opportunities available in Georgia. The list of educational opportunities include fishing, nature photography, archery, backpacking, shooting, signs of wildlife, scuba diving, and more.
The opportunity instantly caught my attention and I quickly submitted a scholarship application to help cover the cost of my lodging and meals. Honestly, I just didn’t want to camp again so soon after our car-camping road trip from Georgia to Rhode Island and back. Fortunately, I have been outspoken in my dedication to encourage women and families to take to the outdoors and they granted my scholarship that covers half of the costs. It pays to share your experiences and encourage others to get out there and live it up!
I chose from a variety of learning opportunities, the courses that were important to me. I based my selections on my own personal enjoyment of the outdoors, preparedness to build my confidence in the outdoors, and keeping my husband’s spirit alive for my sons. The courses I’m taking are Signs of Wildlife, Wilderness Survival, Fishing 101 and Fly Fishing.
Signs of Wildlife, I chose for myself. I am already aware of many wildlife signs – However, I’d like to improve my knowledge and learn to better recognize the presence of animals. I believe this ability will enhance my time spent in the outdoors and aid me in pointing out interesting things to others on our hikes.
Wilderness Survival is something to help me feel more confident and prepared on longer backcountry hikes and camps. I also thought that my sons would get a kick out of whatever knowledge I could bring back to them. They really love this kind of thing.
Finally, Fishing 101 and Fly Fishing. I really, really hate fishing – although, fish is my favorite food. I have been fishing very few times and my opinion of fishing as being severely boring is based completely upon the fact that I had absolutely no knowledge about fishing whatsoever. But, my late husband absolutely loved fishing and fly fishing was a bucket list item he was never able to experience. I’m crossing it off for him and bringing it back to his sons to keep his spirit alive and fishing with them.
As excited as I am, This three-day workshop will be the longest period of time I have spent away from my sons in the history of our life together – that’s 12.5 yrs for those of you just tuning in.. I know they will be fine and I will be fine. But, I have separation anxiety. Fortunately, I know that a mother carries her children’s perfect DNA with her for the rest of her life. So, no matter where this new phase of individual expeditions may take us – I literally have them along with me however far apart we are.