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Woman, 81, taking aim at Women in the Outdoors event at Woodmont

April 10, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

HANCOCK - Outdoorsy from her earliest memories in Connecticut, Victoria Malaney grew up in a family that fished, canoed and hunted.

Now a resident of Flintstone, Md., Victoria still says she is happy in the woods and seizes every opportunity to be outdoors even at the age of 81.

"I went to camp in Connecticut," she said. "And my dad was a hunter who taught me gun safety, fishing and canoeing."

Seven years ago, Victoria learned of the Women in the Outdoors program through the National Wild Turkey Federation. And she has been active in the organization ever since.

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So she is looking forward to the 8th annual Women's Outdoor Skills workshop to be held June 6-8 at the Woodmont Lodge near Hancock.

There, ladies 14 and older will take such diverse classes as bow hunting, stream fishing, geo caching (GPS devices used for a high tech scavenger hunt), basket making and handgun safety, among many other choices.

Not big on hunting, Victoria said she does entertain friends who come to her home for spring turkey season. "I love game - eating it and cooking it," she said.

She stresses that the weekend at Woodmont will also appeal to women who want to learn more about birds, trees, plants and even journaling.

"I've taken rifle, shotgun, handgun and shooting clay pigeons as well as regular fishing and fly fishing," Victoria said.

She said gun safety is highly emphasized at these classes.

While young women need only be 14 to sign up, Victoria said she has seen some as young as 16 at these events.

During the weekend, there will be silent auctions and art work for sale.

Woodmont is an historic setting with a huge rustic fireplace and a large dining room with catered meals. Participants are usually housed two to three to a room while some outdoor campsites are also available for the hearty.

"Most of the instructors donate their time," Victoria said.

She noted that in the past many of the instructors were men who commented they preferred teaching women in their courses. "They have said that women are more open to learning," she said.

The National Wild Turkey Federation strives to provide opportunities for men, women and children to promote conservation and explore outdoor recreation while preserving the country's hunting heritage.

Among its many highlights, the NWTF has three outreach programs designed to reach a broader audience - Wheelin' Sportsmen, JAKES and Women in the Outdoors.

This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the Women in the Outdoors, according to Priscilla Page, regional coordinator for Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey.

"I became something of a campaigner for Women in the Outdoors, even before I signed on as an employee," Page said.

In her column in the NWTF newsletter, Page added that she wanted women to experience what she had as a young person - the confidence, new hobbies and friends, and a bond with her son that came through Women in the Outdoors program.

The cost for the Woodmont event is $195 for the lodge and $130 for camping. To make reservations, contact Melody Smith via e-mail at melodys@verison.net or telephone 410-751-1772.

The anniversary will be celebrated with a national "Learn, Laugh and Lighten Up" event in September at the NWTF's South Carolina-based headquarters.

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