What could bring a group together better and faster than a learning experience, storytelling and gathering around a bonfire? Four employees, Aimee Martin, Jill Karolewski, Allison Westergard and Anne Beihoffer, participated in the Reach, Inspire, Support, and Empower (R.I.S.E) retreat, a Vista and Federal sponsored bowhunting education event in Winterset, IA in June to do just that.
The retreat’s purpose is to teach the skills of bowhunting, give opportunity for personal growth and build confidence to carry into everyday life. The event is hosted by Raised at Full Draw, a non-profit with a mission to connect like-minded women through the outdoors, empower individual strength, independence and determination while remaining compassionate, loyal and adventurous.
Anne Beihoffer, Senior IT Ecommerce Project Manager, who organized the event, says the retreat attracted women of all ages from across the U.S. with varying levels of hunting/archery experience and comfort in the outdoors.
“In 48 hours, we learned or developed bowhunting skills – from the basics of holding and shooting a bow to proper shot placement for hunting. We shot at different distances, and used a 3D archery course, too,” Anne said. “This event was an empowering experience for women to learn and improve archery and hunting skills. The focus on hunting ethics really emphasized the respect and value that hunters have for the animals they pursue.”
Participants could also complete the requirements for their bowhunter education certification during the course.
Women also learned outdoor survival skills, tree stand safety, how to shoot from elevations and ground blinds. They identified hunting locations and worked on tracking after a shot, navigating to a hunting location in the dark, and had the opportunity to try shooting clay targets.