It was over a week ago already, I need to give you a quick report on our big Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BO-W) workshop at Halsey this fall. Mostly I have some pictures to share, maybe a story or two to tell.
I have been helping with our BO-W program for going on 16 years now. Let me tell you how I can remember that. Years ago I was asked to teach a basic fishing class at the BO-W workshop; I taught that year and was asked back the next year. That next year I had to decline because my daughter, my own Outdoors-Girl, was born on the very weekend of the BO-W workshop, but I have been asked back every year since then. Our main BO-W workshop is held at Halsey on the same weekend every year, so my daughter’s birthday and age reminds me of how many years I have had the privilege of helping in our BO-W program.
The BO-W workshop is held at the 4-H camp on the Bessey/Halsey Nebraska National Forest. That is a great facility and great location for the workshop and early October is always a beautiful time to be there.
I take a lot of equipment and teaching aids for my classes, some of which I may not need, but I like to have a variety of fishing equipment with me in case there is a question about some of it. It is a lot easier to answer those questions by having the “stuff” right there and being able to show it. For example, I take a little bit of ice-fishing gear with me each year and this year I had a couple, three gals who had questions about ice-fishing and it was nice to be able to grab my bucket of ice-fishing gear and start answering their questions.
It takes some time to get everything moved to my classroom area and set it all up, so the weekend is always a busy one, but it is always very rewarding. I always joke that the ladies who attend my classes wear me out because by Sunday afternoon my voice is gone and I am tired and ready for a break, but it is a very satisfied fatigue because it is so easy to teach students who are so willing to learn! My basic fishing class is 3 1/2 hours long on Saturday morning, but typically after I ramble on for a few minutes the ladies start asking questions and the next thing I know the 3 1/2 hours are gone! I then taught a bow-fishing class on Saturday afternoon and then we go “on the pond” Sunday morning.
During the Sunday morning session we actually get to go fishing, that is the main session of “hands-on” learning for my fishing classes. I do not fish on Sunday morning, that is the lady’s time to fish and I am just there to help, answer questions, offer tips and advice. However, I always try to slip in a little fishing while I am there, before my classes; I figure as an instructor I owe it to my students to know where the fish are and what they are doing (wink).
There is nothing prettier than a bluegill in the evening light.
Some of you are looking really close at that picture trying to figure out what I used to catch that fish. If you look close you can see my bobber in the background; some of you might even recall this blog post, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/blogs/2012/05/kids-system/ . Now you know.
The weather was relatively cold this year. During the first week of October for our BO-W weekend we have had weather that ranged all the way from T-shirt, shorts and tenner shoe weather to cold, wet, windy and maybe even spitting a little bit of snow. I drove to Halsey from Alliance for the weekend this year and the ground in Alliance was completely white with snow when I left that morning. So, our BO-W weekend this year was a little on the chilly side, especially in the mornings. When we went fishing on the last morning it was a little cold, and of course that made the fishing tougher, but it was beautiful.
The ladies fished hard.
One of them even wanted to try out my waders and old float tube.
And now I know what some of you are thinking, “Ole Daryl ain’t showing many fish pictures, they must not have caught fish”. As I said, it was a cold morning and the bite was not hot, but the ladies caught some fish, not everyone caught fish, but at least a few were caught.
Time for a little hands-on learning about fish handling, fish identification and hook removal. . . .
We will have to work on the proper arms extended-upright-full view of the fish-photo-taking technique later in one of my advanced fishing, Beyond BO-W classes. Ha.
By noon on Sunday our sessions wrap up and everyone packs up to head for home. By that time I am in no hurry so I take my time packing everything back into my “Walleye 1″ vehicle. Typically, it seems like the weather is gorgeous just about the time I have to leave. If I can, I like to spend a little time lingering in the area or taking a “scenic drive” on the way home. This year I climbed the stairs up the fire tower there on the Nebraska National Forest. Here were some of the views from up there:
Looking at those pictures reminds me of something I love about my home state Nebraska, and especially something I love about the beautiful Nebraska sandhills. Do not get me wrong, I like trees (especially when they have big ole Tom turkeys roosting in them), and personally I think the hand-planted Nebraska National forests at Bessey and McKelvie are unique and cool. But, Nebraska is a prairie state and one thing I love is being able to see the grasses and that big sky and horizon. Trees are nice, but when I am in places where there are lots of trees, places where I cannot see the sky or horizon, well, I guess I feel somewhat claustrophobic–get me out in the wide-open spaces, out where I can see, out where I am free. I lingered at the top of the fire tower for quite some time (long enough to drink a pop and eat some M&M’s) because that was the feeling I had up there.
There you go, there is another report on one of my recent weekends in our great state. As I said it was busy, tiring, but very rewarding. Oh, and we had a lot of fun too. There were a bunch of new faces this year at the BO-W workshop and that was great. Ladies, if you have not been involved in our BO-W program, especially the big workshop at Halsey each fall, I would strongly encourage you to check it out, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/education/programs/bow/bow.asp !