NEW TRIPOLI For some participants attending their first National Wild Turkey Federation Women In The Outdoors event, it is their opportunity to learn the difference between baitcaster and an autoloader.
Others who attend the annual events to so in order to supplement their outdoors knowledge with advance training, focusing on topics that can be as varied as fly fishing for specific species to scent elimination for deer hunting.
What all participants have in common, however, including those learning the difference between fishing reels and shotguns to those fine tuning their skills, is sharing their enjoyment of the outdoors with those of similar interests. This year, they will have that opportunity, Saturday, June 11, when an NWTF WITO program is held at Ontelaunee Rod and Gun Club, New Tripoli.
Earlier this year, Pennsylvania WITO program coordinator Jeff Souders visited Cabela's in Hamburg to outline the programs to be held this year. Now in his second year in his position, the longtime Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs public relations director said the Pennsylvania Chapter of the NWTF has been able to expanded the WITO programs since the organization has partnered with the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
"No matter if one has a lifetime of hunting experience, and the taxidermy mounts to prove it, or for those who keep to themselves that watching outdoors programming on television is a guilty pleasure, there is something to be learned by attending a WITO event," Souders said. "Courses are designed for the skill level of the participants, and instructors show a patience that is not always evident when learned from one's spouse.
"With the partnership between the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, it allowed us to completely revise and improve the Women In The Outdoors program by getting the word out and reach more people. These events provide an opportunity for women of all ages in all walks of life from singles to moms and daughters to spend time with those with similar interests learning new skills, improving skills and make new friends."
Since its inception in 1998, the NWTF WITO program has conducted organized events specifically designed to meet the needs of women with single-day and weekend events. All of the instruction is done by qualified instructors, and very often there is one-on-one supervision during the hands-on portion of the classes.
In addition to the formal instruction, very often much is learned from other attendees who have experience in the various events by exchanging information during lunch break and free time. Many times, lasting friendships are made that lead to joining others in outdoors activities throughout the year and renewing those friendships at other WITO events.
Courses offered vary at each WITO event and participants select a specified number by order of preference when doing the required pre-registration. Every attempt is made to honor those requests, and the classes provide in-depth instruction, rather than superficial information.
Registration includes any required instructional material, a one-year membership in the NWTF and one-year subscription of "Turkey Country" magazine, lunch at most locations and various incentives for early registration. A popular feature at many events are raffles, door prizes and special offers that often include participating in outdoors events that can include shooting events, fishing, hunting, camping or boating.
"With the NWTF being the leading conservation organization in North America, I'm excited to help fulfill our mission through the Women In The Outdoors program," Souders said. "It has been extremely successful in Pennsylvania, and everyone associated with the program is looking forward to helping even more women across the state enjoy and discover outdoors activities."
Souders said the WITO event at Ontelaunne Rod and Gun Club is always one of the most popular and urged participants to register early. He said the following courses are planned: Basket Weaving, Dutch Oven Cooking, Gardening For Wildlife, Introduction to Crossbows, Self Defense, Archery, Fly Fishing, Get Your Bearings, Handguns, Incredible Wild Edibles, Reading The Weather, Knot Tying, Outdoor Cooking, Outdoor Survival Skills, Rifle Marksmanship, Shotgunning/Trapshooting and Soap Crafting.
For information about the National Wild Turkey Federation Women In the Outdoors event at Ontelaunee Rod and Gun Club, contact Katrina Skrapits at 610-760-1689 or email at LehighValleyWITO@yahoo.com