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There’s no shopping in the outdoors

By Brooke Sansom

Beginning archery success
Beginning archery success

When my mom suggested that we have a mother-daughter day all I could do was roll my eyes and think of a dreaded, long day of shopping.

Instead my mom put a piece of paper in front of me that said Outdoor Women Unlimited—OWU. It had all sorts of fun workshops we could take together. The classes I got excited over were Archery, Field Dog Class and Demo, Sticks to Staff, Outdoor Art, Canoeing/Kayaking and Fishing.

The night before the event I could hardly sleep. This was the first time I was excited about getting up so early on a Saturday morning.  The drive to the Southern Sportsman’s Lodge in Benton, Ala., was not long, and it gave my mom and me the chance to talk about what our day had in store for us.

Fishing has its rewards!
Fishing has its rewards!
When we got to the Lodge it was cold, but inside it was nice and warm. My mom introduced me to Ms. Becky Wood and her daughter Whitney. They were so nice to me and made me feel like I belonged there. I could not believe they were a mother and daughter who loved the outdoors so much that they were helping other mothers and daughters come and learn together.

My first activity was fishing. I have fished before but I needed help throwing out my line and avoiding the bird’s nest in my reel that I sometimes get. Even though it was cold I caught four fish—three bass and one crappie. I got up the nerve from the instructor to hold my first fish by the mouth. Putting my worm on the hook was not for me, but that’s what moms are for, right? We had an instructor who would have done it, but I think my mom enjoyed putting the worm on the hook for me.

With hot chocolate in hand, my mom and I headed to the Field Dog class and demo.  I fell in love with the dogs. I have three dogs at home and, believe me, they do not mind as well as those dogs.

The field dogs would stop when the whistle blew.
The field dogs would stop when the whistle blew.

The dogs were well trained in picking up birds and stopping on a dime when their master blew his whistle. I got to throw the white dummy out all day and I learned so many commands. I am hoping to teach my dog some of the commands I learned and also, training with a leash. My mom said I will have my work cut out for me.

Before lunch we got to make Sticks to Staff.  I wanted to make my dad a walking staff so the instructor helped me pick out a good sturdy stick that I could sand down and decorate with feathers, stones and even a compass for the top. My mom made me an Auburn University staff with orange and blue feathers. I love it.

Since it was a cold day, it was nice to have a hot lunch or as my mom puts it, a good old-
You can learn to turn a stick into a walking staff.
You can learn to turn a stick into a walking staff.
fashioned Southern meal with fried chicken, mashed potatoes, rolls and peach cobbler straight from the Dutch Oven Cooking class. Yum!

After lunch I got to put the finishing touches on my stick for my dad and then I kept going back to the Demo Dogs to throw the white dummy again and again. I could not get away from them. I think I have found my new passion.

Archery was another activity I really looked forward to since my mom teaches archery to women, but we have never had the chance to get on the range together. I learned there is a lot of responsibility with shooting a bow. It took balance, strength and patience. I think I am pretty good at it, too. My mom was so proud of me, and we both were having fun.

Hitting the target takes concentration.
Hitting the target takes concentration.

At the end of the day I was very tired, but it was a good tired. I learned so much and had so many memories that I will never forget with my mom. I think the best lesson I learned was how much I love being outside and learning new activities.  I can’t wait until next time.

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Editor’s Note:  Brooke’s mother Dawn Singleton is Buckmasters’ Media Coordinator and Insurance Coordinator.  She has been teaching adult women archery in the Becoming an Outdoor Woman program for 10 years. You can read more about Outdoor Women Unlimited on their website,

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