By now the kids are all ready for back to school with fresh pencils and notebooks, shoes and backpacks. They are eagerly waiting to start learning new skills and making new friends. And why should we, as adult women, be left out of the fun? Eagle Bluff ELC near Lanesboro and MN Becoming Outdoors Woman (BOW) are hosting the Discover BOW Weekend September 11-13. It's an opportunity to "go back to class" to learn new outdoor skills and make new friends.

Taking advantage of the beautiful southeast Minnesota location, the BOW weekend has everything from exploring the Root River via canoe, kayak, or with a fly rod to hiking and orienteering through Eagle Bluff's extensive property, learning about the flora and fauna of the region. Other classes include archery and a mock 3-D hunt, upland bird hunting or fire arm safety skills. There's a bicycle ride along the Root River trail out of Lanesboro, or for those who need more adrenaline, a high ropes challenge. Classes are limited to 12 persons or less with lots of hands-on, step-by-step instruction from experienced outdoors enthusiasts, most of whom are women.

I attended one Minnesota's first BOW weekends nearly 15 years ago at Gunflint Lodge and have been hooked ever since. It was so empowering to spend the weekend with a group of women learning how to load and shoot a firearm and how to tie on my own lure. There were lots of beginner's mistakes, but there was also lots of help and tons of laughter. I now understood the easy camaraderie of the hunt camp and I wanted more of it for myself. Progressing from a participant to instructor, I've learned new skills like pheasant hunting, polished old, like fishing, and most importantly, made many wonderful new outdoor friends.

My increasing comfort and confidence outdoors has naturally passed on to my daughter, who is becoming quite the outdoor girl herself. She's anxiously counting the years until she'll be old enough to participate in my "girls only" Canadian fishing trip and our hunting trips, many of which have more women than men.

Doctors and scientists say that we should continue to learn new skills throughout our lives to keep our brains healthy. Lifelong learning doesn't need to just come from books and the classroom. Plus, homework never entailed a beautiful walk through a fall woods or an afternoon on the water with a bucket of minnows and rod. And best of all – practice makes perfect!

 (It's not too late to register for the fall BOW workshop at Eagle Bluff. Download a brochure at or call 1-888-800-9958.)

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