Few women come by themselves. They come with friends, or sisters, or a mother brings a daughter, or a daughter convinces a mother she’s not too old to try something new. Once they’ve been there, they want to share it with someone. That’s just one of the legacies of BOW.
They come for a lot of different reasons-space to breathe, or because someone else does the cooking and cleaning up, or maybe to learn a new skill or see old friends, maybe to have time and quiet to sit and think. Some come to have a place to call their own, where they are Women of the Outdoors, not someone’s wife, or mother, or employee. They come to face a fear or revive a memory.
But whatever the reason, almost to a person they say, “I’m coming back.” That’s another legacy of BOW…
One camp group finds a tipi skin stashed away. Months pass and another group makes a trip to cut and peel tipi poles. More months pass, and yet another group erects that tipi for the first time. Group to group, passing skills and materials and assistance months or even years down the line. We build upon past successes and accomplishments. That’s the third legacy of BOW.
They attend and participate for a few years, and next thing you know, they offer to instruct a class, to offer their skills and knowledge. That’s the fourth legacy of BOW. They grow their leaders.
Over a three-day weekend I learned the twenty-year history of B.O.W., met some of the original members, and garnered story after story of women’s experiences at camp and in the wilderness. I watched, and listened, and learned, and it boiled down to 10 things I learned from camp:
1. Offer a hand whenever you can.
2. When offered a hand take it.
3. All the activity makes you really hungry.
4. You never go hungry at B.O.W. camp.
5. It’s good to try things that scare you.
6. You’re never too old for camp games.
7. What you are taught, teach to others.
8. You’re never too old for camp crafts.
9. It takes about 7000 woman hours to make camp happen. How many man hours does that translate into?
10. There really is an outdoor activity for everyone.
I am delighted to have been introduced to the concept of BOW. I am honored to meet the women of BOW. I shall do my best to uphold the legacy…
Traci Schauf is a college instructor, freelance writer, amateur photographer, and obsessed outdoorswoman who divides her residency between Oklahoma and Kansas. With her family, she canoes, kayaks, bikes, hikes, backpacks and fishes. She hosts her own daily blogs about her family and outdoor life at http://momonvacation.blogspot.com and healthy living and fitness at http://community.wholeliving.com/profiles/blog/list?user=3q9603u0ypadw. She has been published in Country Woman, Family Fun, and Contempo magazines. Traci’s philosophy is “there is an outdoor activity for everyone, and everyone should be outdoors.”
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