What Wild Women Do

An outdoor workshop geared toward women teaches them how to throw spears, bow hunt, fire weapons, rapel and kayak.

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Women kayak during the last BOW camp. Photo courtesy BOW

According to folklore, within every woman there is a wildness – a fierce creature with the potential to be unleashed.

If you’re not sure how to tap into that part of yourself, consider attending a Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) workshop hosted by Camp Fire Green Country at Camp Waluhili, 45 minutes east of Tulsa.

Women kayak during the last BOW camp.
Photos courtesy BOW

On the scenic shores of Fort Gibson Lake, Camp Waluhili has welcomed campers since 1949. With nearby access to Sequoyah State Park and Flat Rock Creek Recreation Area, the camp also has a shooting range, an archery range, a 25-foot cliff to scale, large meadows, air-conditioned cabins and a community dining hall built in 1964.

BOW offers nearly 40 classes, which include atlatl (spear throwing), shooting muzzleloaders, archery, bow hunting, pine needle weaving, kayaking, paddle boarding, shooting handguns, Dutch oven cooking, rappelling, blacksmithing and canning, says Claire A. Johnson, community relations director for Tulsa Campfire.

BOW helps women from all walks of life to connect with their wild sides through nature.

A woman practices shooting. Photos courtesy BOW

“It can be daunting to look at the class list and see things like blacksmithing, orienteering, backpacking and shotguns,” participant and instructor Stephanie Nourse says. “But all of the classes are designed for someone who is at the most basic of skill levels and for those who have never had any experience. I was asked to come to BOW as an instructor my first year by the coordinator of the event in 2009 as a personal favor because I love crafting, especially traditional crafts, and she knew I had been an instructor in numerous classes for other organizations.

“I’d just had my youngest child a few months before and was willing to come out to teach a class on hand spinning wool into yarn, but had no interest in staying beyond that. Boy, was I wrong. I ended up staying the whole day and was so upset when I had to leave because I had such a great time.”

The 48-hour workshop brings women together in a comfortable, judgment-free setting to explore the outdoors, establish camaraderie and learn or build on their skillsets, Johnson says.

Nourse adds: “A wide range of women professionals are represented at the BOW workshops, including stay-at-home parents, educators, engineers, doctors and social workers. I, like many other participants, am not what people generally think of as the hunting/fishing/outdoors type. I dye my hair every color under the sun, have facial piercings and tattoos, and enjoy things like comic books and electronic music.

Rappeling is among the activities at BOW camp. Photo courtesy BOW

“Yet, I fit at BOW and am just as much an integral member of the BOW community as everyone else.”

The workshop is typically held in the fall, with the next one Oct. 5-7. There is usually a waiting list, so early registration is recommended. The event runs from noon Friday to noon Sunday. The catalog is usually released in mid-August with registration opening a week later, Johnson says. In previous years, the cost has ranged from $210 to $225, depending on lodging. Occasionally there is an additional cost for certain classes for supplies (such as blacksmithing or atlatl).

“The best way to stay up-to-date on the happenings at BOW is to like the ‘Becoming an Outdoors-Woman: Oklahoma’ Facebook page,” Nourse says. “All information is kept up-to-date there.”