Surveys show that women love being outdoors, learning new skills and empowering themselves by improving on skills such as fishing, shooting, hiking, hunting and more. We learned about this fairly new organization, Wander Woman, based in the state of Kansas, while at an event last fall in Kansas sponsored by CZ-USA. While there, we met Jessica White, the founder of Wander Woman.
We hope to attend future events and clinics sponsored by Wander Woman, and to bring you along. In the meantime, meet Jessica and find out more about her mission.
How (and why) did Wander Woman start?
I was sitting in a turkey blind with my father and started up a conversation about ideas of how I could be more involved with the outdoors outside of our yearly turkey hunt and deer hunt together. I was trying to find some sort of club or group where I could meet more people with the same interests as I. I was just using Google at the time and couldn’t figure out anything in my area of Johnson County. He mentioned me that the National Wild Turkey Federation has its Women in the Outdoors program, which is something I had never heard of before. I started attending their meetings and went to their sponsor event out at Powder Creek. This opened a world I had no idea existed around me which included the local Pheasants Forever chapter. The more I was attending these meetings and events, the more I noticed I was always the only woman. Having conversations gave me the idea to have events that were geared to only women. I thought that if I struggled to find activities like these close by, there had to be other women that felt the same way. I was right!
What types of events has Wonder Woman hosted?
The first event I had as Wander Woman was a combined event with the Kansas City Area Grotto at Truman Lake. The president of the organization Pic Walenta was such a great mentor and jumped on the opportunity to support my group. It was a family camp out/rappel workshop where we had three different rappel points for beginner, intermediate, and advanced. After that was successful, we ended up working with PF for a women’s shotgun clinic, ladies only basic handgun course with Not A Victim Training, dutch oven campfire cooking class, two part waterfowl series, all ladies doe hunt, catfish and crappie fishing by boat, and basic fishing.
Moving forward, are you adding new experiences?
When I started this group, the goal was to always include non-hunters and non-shooters. I want to teach women and provide experiences that includes all outdoor activities. I want to forage, learn about the stars, identify animal tracks, species of plants, birds, hiking, backpacking, caving … We have a moonwalk hike scheduled for May, turkey hunt in April, CZ demo shoot clinic in June, fly fishing in June, potentially scheduling a kayak class. I have secured a sandhill crane hunt in November, and a reloading class should be this year.
We really like your social media. Do you have any anecdotes surrounding social media that you’d like to tell us about? Where women contacted you about an event, or after an event?
I really don’t have anything regarding social media that I can think of that stands out. Some things with social media I find interesting is how different things interest people over others. I will get a lot of shares from 1 post, then nothing at all for another. I’m excited to understand what people’s interests are. This shed hunt coming up has grown so much unexpectedly. Women that I think would never have any interest in hunting are coming to this, which is exactly what I had hoped for when forming this group.
What does the future hold for Wander Woman?
I really believe Wander Woman is going to continue to grow. I have a lot of support from the community, other social media groups, friends, and family. I couldn’t do it without them. I am thinking of going with the LLC option then a 501c3 formation from there. I am now having to seek professionals that can guide me in the right direction. I see my clinics growing, and Wander Woman with more requests to be present during events. We were called by the Cabela’s in Wichita as a vendor for their Ladies Day Out. We were recently asked to be at the Governor’s Ringneck Classic and to assist on the planning committee for the women’s event for Friday night. It is so exciting to see how things develop and how passionate other people are with this group.
Personally, what do you like to do in the outdoors? Hunt, shoot, fish, hike?
I was lucky enough to grow up with parents that enjoyed spending a lot of time outdoors. My dad found a passion with hunting and fishing and wanted to share that with my sister and I as we grew up. I started as a turkey hunter for many years then finally started deer hunting. Wander Woman provided me the other hunting experiences that I might not have had a way to try – unless I figured it out on my own. My mom was always the one involved with my sister and I with Girl Scouts and other outdoor adventures. She was a rappel master for the Girl Scouts for 15 years. I grew up camping, going through different caves, canoe trips, rappel trips, surveys, hiking, kayaking. I love it all.
Kansas is such a wonderful outdoorsy state that truly can be enjoyed all year long. What do you especially love about it?
I think what I love about Kansas is its familiarity. My dad and I have been hunting and camping in Bourbon County, Kansas, almost my entire life. There are so many camping and hunting memories there. There are really great parks close by my home that I like to take my dog Theo on walks and to fish with him. Some people close to the city might not realize how much there really is nearby to enjoy the outdoors. It is finally starting to warm up so Theo and I can start doing those things together again.
I’m so thankful for these opportunities and to have the drive and passion to provide these outdoor experiences to other women. The volunteers and support of my family make this all possible. I have met some amazing women, and we get to try new things and learn together. I can’t wait to see where this all goes.
To learn more about Wander Woman, visit its website.