Where will the road to
When I accompanied my best friend through her Hunter Education class in 1988, I was so impressed with the instructors and their presentation and passion for the subjects, that I wanted to know more. When one of them encouraged us as students to consider getting involved in the program later on, 'later on' to me, was the minute class was over. I immediately asked, 'How do I become an instructor?' At age 19 I certified as the first woman Utah Hunter Education Instructors Assistant (since you can't officially be an instructor until you're age 21). Twenty years later, my daughter became the second in the state to do so.
I attended class after class, and brought more friends and family through. I didn't do much instructing, but was given some opportunities to read through material in class. I helped with attendance sheets and paperwork and took part in the field days. As the years went on, I got bored with what seemed like I was taking hunter education over and over again because most of my time there was spent listening to the course, but still felt very strong about the program. Life got busy, and a mom with 3 kids has very little time for herself and extracurricular activities, so Hunter Education had to take a back seat to my agenda. When my daughter expressed an interest in becoming an instructor, I thought it might be time to get back into it. I had let my certification laps 3 years prior.
We both dug in and took the course to become, and become again an instructor. This time, my heart was set on doing it on our own, and gearing our classes towards women. Though I have always had an extreme respect for the men I taught with, I wanted to take a different approach. I feel strongly that there are ladies and young women out there who are intimidated by, not only firearms, but also by most male instructors. There are ladies out there who are intimidated in general by things they don't understand. I wanted to be a venue for something that I feel so passionate about. I wanted to share what I know with everyone who will listen.
We offer a wide array of programs, some of them, I'm sure, at some point may be profitable. Some are volunteer, but for now, we are building a foundation for getting the information out there. We are using every dime we make to invest back into equipment, building rent, facilities, and continuing education to make our programs better. We took money from one class to purchase pads for self defense, and guns for Hunter Ed. We spend money from our own pocket to pay for land that we can develop and use for these programs, and we pay for equipment and fuel out of our own pocket as well because it is our only current resource and we are blessed that we can. After a week of developing our own private gun range and arranging in class locations, Go For It Outdoors was finally able to sponsor our very first 'Ladies Only Hunter Education Class'. With some of the in class instruction completed, we moved to the range and our tented outdoor classroom for more instruction, field day exercises and the shooting test.
The program that we had taught in prior years was more in depth than a new version the state offered which was a much shorter course. Covering so much material in such a short amount of time seemed almost impossible, but I was determined to make it work. More than half of the class scoring 100% on their written tests proved to me that we had covered what we needed to and they understood it!
The real success came later. As we lined up on the firing line and assigned half of the class to shoot, and the other half to stand behind as coaches, two of the 5 ready to shoot stood there with tears running down their faces. They were scared to shoot the guns. They were scared of what they didn't know and understand. One was intimidated by the pump action .22 that her grandfather had given her to take the course. She didn't know how to work it. She didn't understand the vintage guns' safety and she was worried. As we worked together with their moms to calm them and show them how to use 'their own' guns, the tears still flowed as they got ready to pull the triggers. Some of the other girls were now finished with their first 5 rounds, but we were there for a reason, and this was it! These girls were going to be comfortable shooting before they left that day, that I was sure of.
As we continued to shoot through the required number of rounds, both girls confidence began to grow. By the end of the session, the youngest blurted out 'This is fun!!', to which I replied ' Yes, Yes it is. Once you get past the fear, it is a lot of fun, and you're do great!' The other was insistent on shooting the rest of the rounds that were in her box of ammunition because now that she had the gun figured out, she also was having fun.
Two other instances in this class of 10 ladies was one who texted me the night before class to say she couldn't come, but the day of, texted again and asked if she could just come to the first portion and do the second portion another time. I encouraged her to complete the entire class, but told her I would be more than happy to help her get through the shooting portion if that was her concern. She said she would like to try. By the end of the course, she had aced the written exam and was so comfortable on the firing line that she was pitching in to help some of the others with their issues.
We had a gal there that was having trouble with the gun she had brought to do her test with. It looked to be brand new, and seemed a little stiff. It kept jamming and because she didn't realize it was a semi automatic, she kept trying to load it after every shot. She finished her test with a gun we provided but after realizing how the gun worked, she quickly finished off her extra rounds with her own gun, determined to make it work... and she did!
Seeing the confidence in these girls go from terrified, to no fear and focused determination was an amazing feat. In a few short minutes we were able to break through the wall and bring out a stronger side, one that, even though they were scared or frustrated, they pushed through until they conquered the task in front of them. Watching this happen made me smile inside and out, but being able to be a part of making it happen, well, there are no words. THAT'S the reason I continue to do this program! Being a Hunter Education Instructor is a volunteer program and more worth my time than any other program I offer because it can do so much for these younger generations.
Being one of the few women instructors in the state has given me an opportunity to tap a genre of hunters, future hunters, and even just ladies tagging along on the hunt with no intention of hunting. It has given me the opportunity to encourage, support, and teach women of all ages about the many aspects of safe gun handling, shooting, survival, archery, conservation, and ethics that they may otherwise pass because of a fear of taking the course from a male instructor. Any woman will tell you that there is a level of comfort when you can relate to one another. I can relate to their fears, I can relate to the uncertainty, and I can relate to wanting to stay in my comfort zone, but in order to grow, we must push the boundaries, and I am grateful to be able to be a part of a program that offers opportunities to do that.
Do you ever wonder why people do the things they do? Why do they do things the way they are doing them when clearly, from your perspective, there are better ways to accomplish the task? Admit it, we all do. If you have a little bit of control freak going on inside, then you are probably better at it than others. (By better, I mean you do it more than...) If you're not one of these, or you try not to let other people's business get into yours, you may be less judgmental. Is that a harsh word? We are all judgmental to a point, but at what point is it a problem?
For the record, I pride myself in not being judgmental. What other folks do or don't do is not something I have time for, or I am interested in. I have my own life to live, my way. How you live yours is completely up to you. If you ask my opinion, it is sometimes hard for me to concoct one because I have trained myself to NOT be 'judgmental'. I go to great lengths to stay out of other peoples business. It's often to the point when you start sharing something with me that I feel is none of my business....I sort of quit listening because...well....it's none of my business! Probably not the best quality. I used to be a great listener....now I'm not so sure. (For the record, I'm a great secret keeper ;)
Here's my theory on what is ok and what is not.....and then we'll move on to the real reason I started this post. When you are analyzing someone's behavior as it pertains directly to you or your family, pets, properties, etc., I don't think that is wrong....personally. If someone is doing something that will have a negative or even positive effect on 'you and your own', wouldn't it be in your best interest to judge or 'analyze' how their actions may affect you? To me that is ok, because it directly relates to 'you and your own'.
On the other hand, looking down on someone or conversing with someone else about how you would act if you were them, or going so far as to suggest how they 'should' be acting, is maybe... judgmental. Whether it's how you would do it, or what you would do is irrelevant and at that point you're basically in someone else's business. THIS to me, is judgmental. The exception would be if they were asking for your opinion or advice. Then, by all means, tell them what you think!
To me, this is an uncomfortable subject because I have been 'judged' my entire life based on how most people view me from the outside. (Or at least I feel as though I have) Is it a good thing or a bad one? I don't know. It boils down to my perspective of what they think of me, and I feel judged, until the moment that their thoughts are actually shared with me. It's those insecurities about what we do with our own lives that make us constantly second guess our choices and wonder what others will think. Sadly, sometimes our choices are affected by our perspective of what others will think or say, especially in today's media focused world.
Where am I going with this? Because I was bullied growing up as a country girl in the city, I spent a lot of time alone, had no friends that I hung out with, and basically hated my childhood. It wasn't a bad childhood, but I hated being where I was, far away from everything and everyone I knew and loved. My parents divorced when I was 6 and I moved to California with my mom. I lived for every moment I could come back home to Utah and be with my dad. Each weekend we would go camping and horseback riding in the mountains, and though I didn't always love having to do that, being away from the mountains for so long, gave me an unparalleled appreciation for the outdoors. My 'perspective' changed as I matured.
The problem with going to school 800 miles from home is that I became the kid that nobody knew in my hometown too....so my social life growing up consisted only of family. I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself and wishing I had friends, but I also began to learn things that I may not have had the time for had I been more social. With each new hobby came more confidence to try the next one, and before long, I was labeled with 'she can do anything'. Can we please set the record straight.... I can't do 'anything', but there is nothing I won't try if I have the desire to try. And just having the guts to actually try 'anything' is half of the battle. With each of those accomplishments comes a little more confidence to try the next. Did I gain a new talent, or suddenly have a skill show up out of no where? No. I just worked to develop them. What changed then? Why can I now do things that I couldn't before? The 'perspective' I had of myself is what changed. I began to believe in myself even though I had been made fun of for being who I was, even though the interests I had as a child were different from other kids my age. I rose above the negativity.
As a child, you just want to fit in. I never did. Mentally, that builds a character trait that I can't explain. Instead of viewing myself as the outcast that I truly was, I chose to ignore those thoughts and just be who I was. I am weird! My children will be the first to tell you that. From someone else's 'perspective'....I am weird, but from my own, I am who I chose to be and I am happy being that person, and doing the things that I love to do. Their perspective of me, is theirs, and no longer has an effect on how I feel about myself because it's none of my business. And....even though my kids will be the first to tell you I am weird, they love me, so there's that :)
What then is the point of this post? I am happier now than I have ever been because I do not let what others think affect how I live my life. I am living my life, the way I want, doing what I want, and enjoying every minute because I don't worry about others business, or their views of me.
Somewhere along the way, we all seem to get sidetracked with guilt of one form or another for what we do. I am far from perfect in many aspects of my life, but I am working on bettering myself, loving myself and building my own confidence to hopefully improve myself in those areas. For me, I find the most comfort in the outdoors. There's just something about fresh air and mind clarity that makes everything better.
Find the person in you that is happy. Do more of what makes that person happy. Love that person, and the rest will be a piece of cake!
Spring has peaked through the heavy snow we've been blessed with this year and summer is just around the corner. Though I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE snow sports and winter fun, I am ready for it. Spring is a sign that life can be renewed every once in a while. Sometimes the winters are hard and spring is set back little later. But it comes, eventually...it comes. The same is true with life as sometimes our souls are set back with a diverse number of trials. 'I don't have time' has become the cliché that is all too familiar to all of us. We often feel beaten down and extremely weathered from just trying to keep up, but the show must go on, the job must get done, somebody's got to do it, and so many other nagging cliché's remind us that we must push on. There's always guilt when slowing down to take a deep breath. Why do we feel so pressured to conquer the world before it's too late. Training your intellect to understand that it's ok...no..., it's necessary not to just stop and smell the flowers as you walk by, but actually give some thought to and appreciate the process that it took to build all those petals so perfectly arranged on a different colored stem that happens to be square. How have you taken for granted this flower for your entire life and never known that it's stems are square. Suddenly, you realize, you had a few moments away from reality and that little breath of fresh air has somehow given you a pleasant feeling about life in general. It's these moments that carry us through the next path and these moments that help us decide whether we fight the daily battles with negativity or with a 'BRING IT ON' attitude. Without us even realizing it, they are a gentle nudge from within reminding you to get up and try again. They can bring to life a tired soul.
Winter blues are a real thing and even more so in parts of the world where sunlight is scarce. The first sight of budding flowers and emerging blades of grass always seem to uplift spirits. Taking every opportunity of distraction from a depressing moment is how I have learned to get through some of the hardest times in my life. I've often heard that you can't run from what you may not like, that you must stay and face it, and in the end it will make you stronger. I'm not so sure I believe that in all things. There are certainly things in life that I can not change, but must I submerge myself in them, forcing sorrow and sadness into a soul that simply wants to be happy? Not in my book. I turn to things that keep me positive and focused on the path that leads to happiness. I know that being tried and tested is what makes us stronger, but I also know from experience that having a positive outlook regardless of the circumstances, will make getting through the tough times just a little bit easier. No, running from your problems will not solve them, but stepping back, reassessing, regrouping, and going at them with a clear mind will make it so much easier to accomplish them. Trust me on that one. This is the part where I could go on about stressing over things that you can not control, and what a waste of time that is, but that's a whole other blog post.
Those who know me know that I see the positive side in all things. Sometimes it may be hard to find, but there is ALWAYS a positive side. Find it and the burdens of despair will be lessened.
Bring on Mother Natures renewed generations of life, I am ready for fields of green! Until next time, may you see the best in everything, hold onto the feelings that gives you, and let's live as though we know tomorrow brings happiness!
About this time every year I start getting the urge to be outdoors. Spring fever is quite common when you sit at a desk 50 hours per week. Though I love my job (except the sitting part), I love to be outdoors more. I love hard work more. I love accomplishment more. So, we buckle down on the day to day grind of the office all for the sake of funding the outdoor experience.
What I find most often, being in an office setting, is people longing to be out. Wishing that they had time to do things that are more exciting than just sitting around watching TV at night. I realize there are many that are TV fans, but I personally could live without one and survive just fine. I prefer to get my entertainment from nature.
Question is, how do you find time to get out and do those things? I make time. I force myself to take time whenever I can muster up the energy to get outdoors and do something.....ANYTHING! Sometimes it's 10 minutes, sometimes it's half a day. But it's doing what I want to do and not feeling guilty about it....OK, sometimes I still feel guilty when there is laundry waiting, but the great thing is, it waits for me and I have a better attitude about doing it after some me time. Just getting some good old fashioned fresh air can mean the difference in your day to day sanity. It can calm your nerves like no drug on the market. Taking even a 10 minute walk and focusing on just the beauty of nature around you can be extreme. For me, I have learned that it is a necessity to keep me from being ornery, irritable, and just plain grumpy. I have such a positive outlook on life now and feel so much better than I did 15 years ago when I felt like taking time for myself was selfish. It's NOT! It's better for everyone around me if I take my 'me time'.... trust me.
No matter what your life is packed with at the moment, find time to find yourself. You hold the pen that writes the rest of your life. Make time for making it better, because when you feel better about yourself, you are more likely to be better around those that look up to and rely on you.
Since having this new breakthrough about my brain therapy, I have taken up a few hobbies. Hobbies I'd like to share with others and teach. I am a professional at none of them, but I know enough to have fun, which is the exact reason I pursued them in the first place.
This blog is meant to inspire you, encourage you, support you and help educate you in things that can help find a part of you that you may not have known existed, or maybe have been holding at bay. Or, maybe, re-ignite the spark of the woman you used to be before life got in the way. Trust me, she's in there. Go find her...
Yes We Did and You Can Too!!
We are women who love the outdoors. We all have real jobs, but spend evenings and weekends whenever possible searching for the rush of the wild outdoors. From fishing, hunting, and hiking, to golfing, wakeboarding, and kayaking, if it means being outside in the fresh air, count us in! Winter, Summer, Spring or Fall, the outdoors call to us and we Go For It!!