Linda Layser, Virginia
Hometown: La Mesa, Calif. Currently resides in Middlebrook, Va.
NWTF Member Since: 1994
Home Chapter: National Capital Area Chapter
Family: Linda and her husband Rick are celebrating 40 years of marriage. The two met in high school and Rick taught Linda to shoot, fish and hunt. Linda also credits her parents for helping inspire her love of the outdoors through car trips through state and national parks as a youth.
NWTF: Linda, tell us how you got involved in the Women in the Outdoors program.
Linda Layser: I was looking for a chance to "give back," feeling there was a need to get more women involved with conservation and hunting. Mothers and teachers have a strong influence on our youth's views of hunting and outdoor activities. I wanted to find a way to teach skills to these life educators so they had a better understanding of our resources.
Women in the Outdoors member, Linda Layser with a fine Merriam's gobbler.
I attended a Women in the Outdoors event in Edgefield, S.C., in 1999 when the program was just getting started. I later helped coordinate the first event in Centreville, Va. After that first event, the program grew and we consistently had more than 100 ladies at our events. I then helped other chapters in the state start Women in the Outdoors committees and put on events.
NWTF: What can participants expect when they attend a Women in the Outdoors event?
LL: Women will experience new ways of exploring and enjoying the outdoors. They're taught by enthusiastic and caring instructors and have an opportunity to try activities that they may have thought were not available to them. Most importantly, they learn in an environment that is fun and not threatening.
NWTF: What classes do you teach at events, and which one is your favorite?
LL: I teach a variety of classes, including rifle, shotgun, archery, muzzleloader, wilderness first aid, hunter education, turkey hunting, deer hunting and feather crafts. I like teaching all of them, but shotgunning is my favorite. When a participant hits a clay target for the first time, the shooter and everyone else who is watching gets so excited! It's amazing to watch their faces.
NWTF: Do you think the Women in the Outdoors program strengthens marriages by helping husbands and wives develop more common interests?
LL: I believe any activity or interest a family participates in together strengthens a marriage. When there are common goals in a relationship, it expands each family member's experiences. Even if one person isn't as involved in an activity as the other, but there is an understanding of the value those activities hold for their partner, then it can strengthen a relationship.
NWTF: Why should people join Women in the Outdoors?
LL: Women in the Outdoors gives women and girls access to information and experiences that add to their enjoyment of the outdoors. We already see the influence of this organization on the outdoor industry through the increasing interest in women's outdoor gear and clothing.
I feel strongly the NWTF is the absolute best conservation and hunting organization in the country, maybe the world. We are the only one that covers all aspects of conservation and outreach programs, by putting the funds in the volunteer's hands to improve our resources, our access to resources and education of our youth. The NWTF has a strong mission statement, and we support it in all our programs. Our outreach programs are the future of hunting and conservation in North America.
NWTF: Is there anything else that you'd like to mention?
LL: I'm proud to say I completed a Royal Slam this year! I never planned on making it this far, but the purchase of a Wyoming hunt at the NWTF convention in February encouraged me to make it possible.