Dorothy hopes the third time will be the charm this year as she attempts to get her first gobbler.
Home Chapter: Northeast Texas NWTF
Title: Texas State Board Member, Banquet Committee Member and Women in the Outdoors Instructor
Notable Fact: Dorothy retired in 2003 after serving 28 years as an elementary school teacher.
NWTF: Tell us a little bit about your involvement with the NWTF.
Dorothy McCarver: My husband and I have been serving on our chapter's banquet committee and helping with the various Five Star and local projects for about fifteen years. The Women in the Outdoors program was introduced to me after my two sons were grown and out of the house and things slowed down to where I could really embrace the program.
NWTF: We hear you're building a nice shotgun collection. How long have you been a shooter?
DM: At our chapter's first WITO event ten years ago, I shot a shotgun for the first time. I was 49 years old. A few months later, my husband gave me a 20-gauge Red Label Ruger Over/Under shotgun for my 50th birthday. I am now approaching my 60th birthday and enjoy competing in skeet, trap and five-stand competitions and have become a certified shotgun instructor and help coach our county's 4-H Shooting Sports Project group. Three more shotguns have been added to my gun collection. My granddaughter calls me "Shotgun Granny!"
NWTF: How did you become an instructor for WITO events?
DM: I became an instructor when my event needed a crafts class one year. As an educator, I love to share what I know with people of all ages. What better place to introduce others to my passion of nature crafts and share my hobby than a WITO event? I am constantly looking for creative ideas for making things with natural materials.
I want the participants in my class to appreciate what they find outdoors and be able to bring it home and convert it into a decorative item. This experience can even be shared with family members.
NWTF: What are some other popular classes you teach?
DM: The duct tape tote bag class has been a hoot because it's so different. Once the basics are learned, there is no limit to the sizes of bags that can be made with ordinary duct tape.
Other popular classes at my event include blacksmithing, ATV riding, archery and building bluebird houses.
NWTF: What do you think is the largest misconception women might have about a WITO event before they attend?
DM: Many women think they have to be a hunter or a hiker, or just be very active to enjoy themselves at our events. Some women don't like to get hot or overly exert themselves, and we understand that. That's why we plan our events to have a balance of active and passive activities with one or two that have a "wow factor" because we want to attract women with varied interests.
Providing enjoyable experiences at our "day camp for women" is our number one objective. The participants discover that they can learn or experience new skills with other women and have fun at the same time. The learning curve goes straight up at WITO events!
NWTF: Are you a turkey hunter?
DM: Yes, I do turkey hunt. One of my friends guided my turkey hunt and loaned me a shotgun. He was successful in getting me close to turkeys, but I missed both times. This year I will have my own gun and I have an opportunity to hunt turkeys in Kansas this April. Watch out, Mr. Tom Turkey — here I come!
NWTF: Did you get to attend the NWTF's Convention in Nashville this year?
DM: I did, and it was great. There is so much to see and do! Going to the National Convention is the highlight of my year becasue I get to see entertainers, meet the Outdoor Channel's celebrities and NWTF staff, see a variety of exhibits, attend seminars, renew friendships and make new friends.
I was even asked to teach a short craft class in the JAKES area and promote WITO in the outreach booth. I felt like I made a real contribution. It's very evident that NWTF members are as passionate about patriotism, their creator, wildlife and the outdoors as I am. What a positive experience to witness!
NWTF: Were you able to attend our national Women in the Outdoors event last year?
DM: Yes. The classes I participated in were new to me, and I wanted to learn new skills and ideas to take back to my event. The variety of activities we experienced, the entertainment, the friendliness of the NWTF staff, the food, the speakers and the fellowship were outstanding and so much fun! The rain did not dampen anyone's excitement. I can't wait until the next national event.
NWTF: Do you think women come to WITO events for their own personal connection with nature, or do you think they come for the fellowship with other women?
DM: There are times when women enjoy sharing outdoor experiences with other women and there are times when they want to just be by themselves and experience nature. Women are naturally supportive of others and share themselves with everyone in their lives. A WITO event is a time where a woman can just be herself and enjoy a day away from her daily life. It is her choice to interact with others or just be by herself.
NWTF: Dorothy, why should women join Women in the Outdoors?
DM: Women sometimes need an escape from their chores, carpools, duties and jobs. At a WITO event, women can be with friends and make new ones, get exercise, dress comfortably, eat a meal with adults, learn new skills in a supportive environment, enjoy the outdoors and still get the opportunity to shop!