Lakecaster Online

Women In The Outdoors
By Patty Schaefer

Martin Dies, Jr. State Park

Women In The Outdoors (WITO) is a subsidiary group of the National Wild Turkey Federation. With chapters all over the United States, it provides opportunities for women to learn and experience a variety of activities with other women from all different backgrounds that they may not normally have the opportunity to experience or learn otherwise. The purpose of these events are to promote and teach outdoor skills, conservation, and the preservation of our heritage.

One such event took place Sept. 14th at Martin Dies, Jr. State Park near Jasper, TX. Among the activities available were fishing, canoeing, self-defense, photography, camping, hiking and archery. There was also a silent auction with a variety of items. Luann Waters is the Women's Regional Coordinator for Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. Working with volunteers, committees and groups she gathers suggestions and ideas to coordinate the events then orders supplies, provides moral support and does a lot of the paperwork to make these events happen.

When a woman signs up and attends one of these events, not only does she get to have a lot of fun participating in the activities but also receives a complimentary subscription to the Women In The Outdoors magazine. It is a quarterly publication that has tips and tricks and how-to's to sharpen many outdoor skills. A major advantage to attending such an occasion is the opportunity to try something without the expense of buying. A lot of fun was had by the directors, volunteers and participants of this event. A fantastic BBQ lunch was served and the women gathered to talk, compare notes and laugh together as they had such a great day.

The Deep East Texas chapter of WITO called and gathered local volunteers who for the most part have businesses specializing in each category offered. Stephan Myers, a freelance photographer brought his camera's to teach basic tips and tricks on photography. For the self-defense class, Johnnie Ross of Pineland's Ross' Taekwando USA taught these women how to avoid and get out of a pinch. Camping & Hiking was headed up by Floyd Brussard, a Park Host who is also a Boy Scout leader. Sandy McGuire of Orange, TX was recommended by Jasper's "Just Archery" to teach the archery class. Kathy Wheatley, a professional angler and guide headed up the fishing class.

The committee members for the Deep East Texas chapter are: Sandy Wilgus of "Dive Toledo"; Ann Westerman; Karen Smith; Cindy Dans of "TP&W"; Marilyn Boone, one of the original committee members having served nearly 7 years; Danell Reilly of "TP&W"; and the Chapter President Brian Bell.
For more information on this organization or future events, you can go to their website at or for the Deep East Texas Chapter, contact Brian Bell at (409) 565-4587.

< photos by Patty Schaefer>

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