By Kerrin Brinkman | September 28 2011 13:35
Scenery from the NRA Whittington Center

Even though Lars and I were in New Mexico last week for the National Police Shooting Championships, we didn’t have to chance to head up to Raton to check out the Women’s Wilderness Escape. But fear not, because Bill Poole, Director of NRA’s Education & Training Division made the journey out west to visit with the women during the first of two sessions.

“I have never been so overwhelmed by positive reactions at an event as I was at the Women’s Wilderness Escape,” said Poole. “The ladies were stopping me to say how much they loved the event. The number one word I heard was ‘empowerment’; referring to the feeling they had learning to shoot a firearm.”

The women not only had the opportunity to learn how to shoot rifles, pistols, and shotguns, but they also earned their NRA FIRST Steps certification in all three disciplines. That's something the staff just added to the program especially for the 2011 sessions.

“The chance to develop new skills and participate in a new type of athletic event is very unique and the social value of spending a week with 60 like-minded people is undeniable,” shared Poole, adding that the staff and volunteers who make the Women’s Wilderness Escape possible help add to the experience. “The instructors are top-notch, so it’s easy to see why the ladies have such a great time.”

Having spent several weeks at the NRA Whittington Center myself during my tenure here at NRA, I can attest that the setting and mountainous terrain of Northern New Mexico would certainly help transport the ladies to a place of adventure (as seen in the photo). Throw in the amazingly hospitable staff of the Whittington Center, and you’ve got one heck of a week to remember.

“We are very appreciative of Wayne Armacost and the Whittington Center staff for hosting us as a world-class facility,” said Poole. “They truly go above and beyond.”

The second session of the Women’s Wilderness Escape will wrap up this weekend, and we can’t wait to get our hands on the photos that Program Coordinator Ann Marie Foster and her crew have been taking. Want to get in on the fun in 2012? It’s never too early to start planning! Contact Ann Marie at to learn more about the Women’s Wilderness Escape and find out how you can add a little adventure to your life.

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