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01/03/2012

Military women enjoy NWTF's event with USO




Women practice archery, one of several activities offered at the first Women in the Outdoors joint outing with the USO.

EDGEFIELD, S.C. — At a first-of-a-kind event put on by the NWTF and the USO, women with close military ties - wounded warriors, those on active duty and military spouses - were treated to a fun-filled day outdoors Nov. 6 in Broad Run, Va.

Given the enthusiastic response to the pilot event, representatives of the NWTF and the USO said they expect to work together on more such events.

"It was a huge success. Everybody had a smile on their face," said Michael Hartzell, a hospital services specialist with the USO. "If they were disappointed it was because they wished they had more time. "We're really looking forward to doing it again."

The group of 25 women, most from Virginia and Maryland, enjoyed several classes including archery, skeet shooting and fly fishing. NWTF member Jack Hazel donated use of the site, a 5,000-acre farm about an hour's drive from Washington, D.C.

Volunteers and staff with the NWTF's Women in the Outdoors program taught and supervised the courses, which stretched over six hours.

"It was an honor and a privilege to be a part of this," said Teresa Carroll, coordinator of the NWTF's Women in the Outdoors program. "Introducing women to outdoor activities is always exciting, but doing something for women and families who have given so much to our country is extra special."

One of the event's goals was to provide an opportunity for the women to understand and enjoy many of the same activities their family members participate in. Hartzell said skeet shooting and archery were particular favorites. Some women brought their children.

"Sometimes, these women might feel like they are pushed aside," Hartzell said. "We exposed them to a few new things they could take back home and use to connect as a family."

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