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Katrina Skrapits

Hometown: Danielsville, Pa.
Home Chapter: Katrina volunteers for two NWTF chapters: The Jerry Zimmerman Memorial Chapter and the Walking Purchase Chapter, both in Pennsylvania.
Membership: Women in the Outdoors
Family: Katrina has been married to Steve Skrapits for 17 years. Together, they have two sons Cory, 20, and Joshua, 13.
Notable Fact: Received the 2008 Annie Oakley Award for her contributions to the Women in the Outdoors program.

How did you become involved with the Women in the Outdoors program?
In 2004, I realized my boys didn't need mom around as much, so I had more free time for myself. I had a strong urge to get back out in the great outdoors and participate in outdoor activities such as hunting, hiking, etc. A friend e-mailed me about a new Women in the Outdoors event happening in my area. I thought this would be a good opportunity for me to meet new people with the same interests.

I made a very special friend that day - Audrey Zimmerman. She told me that her husband was a NWTF Regional Director and that he was looking for volunteers to start a new NWTF chapter in my neighborhood. Even though I was female, Jerry Zimmerman and the other volunteers welcomed me. They voted me to be the new chapter's secretary, and said I didn't even have to wear a skirt.

Over the next few months, Jerry became my friend and mentor. He taught me all that the NWTF had to offer. I felt strongly about the importance of this organization, and the positive impact NWTF could do in our community for wildlife and education through its outreach programs. I wanted to be part of it to help spread the word.

Since I had an awesome time at the Women in the Outdoors event, I volunteered to help run the next one and have been coordinating the event every year since.

Why is the Women in the Outdoors program so important to you?
Education through outreach is the future of hunting and conservation. Being an active committee member on both the Walking Purchase and the Jerry Zimmerman Memorial Chapters gives me the opportunity work with all my friends. The reach becomes further and stronger with their involvement and help. The bond with my friends, and what we accomplish together as a team is important to me. Even though Jerry Zimmerman has passed on, his passion for the wild turkey still lives in all of us.

How has the Women in the Outdoors program changed your outlook on hunting and the outdoors?
As I spend time with nature, it has more meaning. I have gained so much knowledge through the NWTF, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the other wonderful conservation organizations I work with through Women in the Outdoors. I now notice that everything has a meaning when I'm out scouting or hunting. I search and learn while enjoying the beauty of it all. I don't take wildlife and their resources for granted. I also learned that whether you're male or female, dressed in camouflage or blaze orange, there is no gender when you hunt.

What do you say to other women to get them to participate in Women in the Outdoors events?
I share with them the experiences of others at past events. I explain that it's a day to treat themselves, learn new skills and overcome fears. However, most of the time, they hear about an event from a friend who has participated in a past event. Word of mouth is the best tool.

What keeps bringing you back to Women in the Outdoors events?
Every year, I return because of the laughter, smiles and good times of the participants, instructors and helpers, and because of the knowledge, confidence and memories everyone takes home. I know these skills and memories will be passed down through generations and make a difference in the future.

What is your favorite Women in the Outdoors event memory?
My first event in 2004 is still my favorite. I took a turkey hunting class that day. My urge and excitement to hunt the wild turkey soared while the instructors talked about their turkey hunting adventures. Thanks to them, I now have turkey hunting stories of my own to share with others.

Why should women attend a Women in the Outdoors event?
Because of the confidence they will receive from learning new skills they can share with their families. I have the confidence to be able to head into the woods alone or with my family, and know I'll return home safely. Friends of mine have attended events and learned the skills and confidence to be comfortable handling firearms, and many have expanded their skills into firearms and archery hunting, and even carrying for firearms self defense. There are so many reasons to attend a Women in the Outdoors event, but first and foremost - it will change your outlook on life.



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