The 3rd annual The Well Armed Woman (TWAW) Chapter Leader Conference was held recently in Jacksonville, Florida. Approximately 300 women attended, up by almost 100 from last year’s total.
Officially a 3-day event held from September 30 to October 2, the conference was preceded by two days of optional courses and instruction. On Wednesday, September 28, the courses included Range Safety Officer, Chief Range Safety Officer, NRA Basic Pistol and TWAW Certification.
Thursday featured a full day of learning from the industry’s best gun manufacturers and accessory companies, held at the Ancient City Gun Range in St. Augustine, Florida. Representatives were on hand from Ruger, Glock, Walther, LWRC, Crimson Trace and Gemtech. The day came to a close with the singing of the National Anthem and an outdoor concert by country music artist Morgan Mills.
The conference officially kicked off on Friday, September 30, with seminars by Julie Golob, Dr. Alexis Artwohl, Crimson Trace, LWRC, Donna Anthony and other industry leaders. I partnered with Barbara Baird, publisher/editor of Women’s Outdoor News, to present a workshop on “How to Communicate with Confidence as a Well Armed Woman.” That evening Ruger, Glock, Walther, LWRC, Crimson Trace and Gemtech leaders had the opportunity to have their photo taken with the evening’s keynote speaker, Susan LaPierre, co-chair of the National Rifle Association’s Women’s Leadership Forum. The evening also featured award presentations and plenty of giveaways.
After another full day of seminars, Saturday’s evening banquet provided leaders the chance to have a photo-op with national and world champion shooter Julie Golob, who gave the evening’s keynote address. Along with many awards and giveaways, “The Best Purple Outfit” award was given to Julie Golob’s daughter, who wore a beautiful purple dress and looked adorable. (Purple is the official color of The Well Armed Woman.) Three other lovely ladies came in a close second place. Among the other awards presented were “Male Instructor of the Year,” which went to Travis Haley; “State with the Most Chapters,” which went to Florida; and “Chapter Leader of the Year,” which went to Rita Boucher of Wisconsin.
The conference’s last day, Sunday, included several morning seminars followed by lunch. The afternoon concluded with an informative presentation about the TWAW shooting chapters as well as a motivational talk on effective leadership by Carrie Lightfoot.
The week was filled with plenty of laughs and smiles, as well as a few tears as we remembered TWAW Leaders and members that we lost this past year. All told, the experience provided an overload of valuable knowledge from some of the best and brightest in the firearms industry. Thankfully the conference wrapped up just in time—just before Hurricane Matthew made landfall. Next year’s conference will be held in Provo, Utah. I’m already looking forward to it.