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Becoming an Outdoors-Woman

View the photo gallery from past BOW workshops on DEC's Flickr page. Watch our video on the Outdoors-Woman Program and check out other clips on DEC's YouTube Channel.
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Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) and Beyond BOW are programs designed to teach women outdoor skills. These programs provide women with information, encouragement, and hands-on instruction in outdoor skills such as fishing, shooting, archery, hunting, trapping, outdoor photography, map and compass, survival, camping, canoeing, and outdoor cooking. BOW workshops are designed primarily for women who have little or no experience with outdoor activities. These are three-day workshops that offer many different classes over the course of a weekend.

Beyond BOW workshops are another opportunity for women to learn outdoor skills and are anything we offer that is not the traditional three-day BOW workshop. They may be "next step" classes for women who have completed a beginner class at a BOW workshop. They may be one day, one subject classes. They may even be an actual hunt, canoe trip, or camp-out.

BOW and Beyond BOW workshops are open to anyone aged 18 and over-past participants have ranged in age from late teens to mid-eighties!

View the photo gallery from past BOW workshops on DEC's Flickr page.

women taking kayak class at BOW workshop in Lake George

Challenge Yourself

BOW and Beyond BOW Workshops are for you, if you:

  • have always wanted to try outdoor activities, but have never had the opportunity;
  • would like to learn new skills surrounded by supportive and enthusiastic instructors and students; or
  • would like to meet other women interested in the outdoors.

Upcoming BOW Events

Fall BOW Workshop

When: September 9-11th, 2022

Where: Silver Bay YMCA, Adirondacks, NY

Classes offered will include: Backcountry Hiking, Adirondack Ecology, Hunter Education, Bowhunter Education, Trapper Education, Rifle Shooting, Handgun Shooting, Muzzleloader Shooting, Shotgun Shooting, Reading Wildlife Sign, Wild Edibles, Field Dressing, K-9 First Aid, Knots, Map & Compass, Basic Fishing Skills, Fly Fishing, Day Hiking, Stand Up Paddleboard, Kayaking, Canoeing, Crossbow, Birding, Dutch Oven Cooking, Wilderness Survival, and more!

Registration is NOW OPEN: Registration Lottery will be open July 18th-28th, 2022. Register online for Fall 2022 BOW Workshop.

Once registration is closed, 125 participants will be chosen at random in the lottery. You will receive the results of the lottery in an email announcing if you were chosen, with a link to the BOW Square website for secure online payment.

Beyond BOW Workshops

Beyond BOW workshops are any event other than the 3-day, 30+ courses BOW workshop listed above. To get the most updated information on all Beyond BOW events, enter your email address in the blue DEC Delivers box at the top of this page, and you can also follow us on social media.

Intro to Backpacking

Where: Jabe Pond, Adirondacks

When: September 11-12th, 2022

BOW instructors Leslie Surprenant (Backpack Camping) and Barb Brenner (Paracord, Food Preservation, Trip Leadership) will lead a short one-night backpacking trip to Jabe Pond immediately following lunch at the end of the Fall BOW Workshop weekend. Jabe Pond is close to Silver Bay and the hike to the campsite is less than 2 miles.

This trip is for BOW participants who have already taken the backpack camping class and want practical guidance before setting out on their own backpack adventure. The trip will include hands-on instruction on topics such as: knot tying, tarp hanging, bear bags and canisters, using a compass, and fire starting.

Instructors will contact registered participants regarding gear, food and other trip logistics.

Participants must provide their own gear and food. Gear rentals may be available locally and instructors may be able to loan some of their personal equipment.

Prerequisite: BOW Backpack Camping (formerly called Wilderness Camping) from any year.

Cost: $45

Must register by August 19th, 2022

Please email Leslie Surprenant to register, or with any questions.

Woman holding fish during BOW fishing course on Lake George

Testimonials from BOW Students

"This is an extremely wonderful program that brings women together-all ages, all walks of life, with similar interests. It empowers women to take on a challenge that they may have been intimidated to take on their own."

"This and previous workshops have really changed my life. I participate in so many activities that I never would have tried otherwise. My husband doesn't hunt or fish, so when I go out to do these things I'm alone, and the education I got here gave me the start I needed to get going and continue enjoying these activities."

"I came here feeling a little out of place and intimidated and am leaving feeling very comfortable and excited about trying some of my new found fishing and hiking skills."

"This program fulfilled a lifelong yearning I have had. Thank you."

woman learning to kayak woman on a high ropes course woman practicing archery with targets

"Great instructors, every single one was high quality: knowledgeable, practical and kind."

"I had a great time, I learned a lot and really enjoyed myself. I would highly recommend this program to any woman interested in learning more about our great outdoors. I'm looking forward to going again next year, there are so many other things I would love to try. Without these workshops I would never be able to try out so many new things. I also really enjoyed being with other women that would like to fish & hunt."

"It is a life changing experience! I wanted to learn skills that my husband, brother and father never had a chance to teach me. And to challenge myself without the guys around, I felt this was my chance."

women learning to paddleboard on river women learning rifle basics from female instructor woman learning how to shoot a rifle with the help of an instructor

For More Information

The best way to get up to date information about BOW and Beyond BOW events, when BOW registration opens and other programs of interest to outdoors women, is to sign up for the BOW email notification list. To sign up, look for the blue "DEC Delivers" box in the upper right of this page. Enter your email address to get started.

To contact us, please call (518) 402-8963 or e-mail us.