y experience with the "Women in the Outdoors" shooting clinic on Aug. 24 can be summed up with just a few words: "fun, exciting and eye-opening."
As a person who had no experience in the shooting sports, I was like a blank canvas for the instructors.
The only time I ever held or shot a gun was one time years ago when I shot at the hillside across from my house - don't worry, nothing there to hit, except maybe a woodchuck, which I didn't - during hunting season one year when my husband asked me if I wanted to try shooting.
As I recall, the recoil from that one shot practically knocked me down and left a bruise on my shoulder.
Thus, my interest in shooting ended.
But on Aug. 24, I found out it can be fun and exhilarating, especially when you are taught how to properly hold a gun, load and aim it, and then find out you really can hit more than the broad side of a barn.
The instructors at the clinic, many of them club members and/or volunteers, offered their expertise with patience and light-heartedness, but also made us aware of the importance of gun safety.
There was excitement in the air as woman after woman hit targets with weapons many had never used before in their entire lives.
I was excited to learn to shoot a semi-automatic pistol as well single- and double- action pistols, and actually hit the target more than once.
My best results probably were with the .22 rifle, as I shot and heard targets hit and flip over repeatedly.
The first one I hit I thought I had broken, much to the delight of my instructor, who quickly "fixed" it by pulling on a string to reset it.
Of all the events, I have to say my favorite was archery,
in which I have had some experience.
No ear protection is needed to shoot a crossbow, which was more difficult than it looks, but makes a satisfying "thud" when you hit the target.
I was happy to see some old friends at the clinic and make some new ones, including Carol Gerow, who generously paid for my membership to join the NRA, which every participant was given the opportunity to do (I paid her back last week).
By the end of the day, we all had something in common: we felt like we had learned something new about ourselves and that we could actually do something as daunting as shooting a firearm.
If any felt fear of guns when they went in, by the time they went home, most said their fears had vanished, and were replaced by a sense of accomplishment.
It was an amazing experience, and I thank my employer for making it possible for me to attend, and also to write about it for the newspaper.
I also wish to thank the NRA for developing the program, the Lamb's Creek Sportsman's Club for hosting it and allowing me to attend and share my experience, the instructors for teaching it,and the volunteers for assisting in the training. The event couldn't have happened without them.
Lastly, each participant received a goody bag from the club, had a generous lunch at noon and many won door prizes donated by local businesses, which just added to the fun.