October 25, 2014

Medina
Clear
64°F

60 women learn archery, skeet shooting at outdoors event

Volunteer Doug Wellock teaches Theresa Bell, 20, of Barberton, how to skeet shoot and “shoot clay” at the 10th annual Medina County Women in the Outdoors event Saturday at the Hill ’n Dale Club in Montville Township. (Photo by Lisa Hlavinka, The Gazette.)

Volunteer Doug Wellock teaches Theresa Bell, 20, of Barberton, how to skeet shoot and “shoot clay” at the 10th annual Medina County Women in the Outdoors event Saturday at the Hill ’n Dale Club in Montville Township. (Photo by Lisa Hlavinka, The Gazette.)

MONTVILLE TWP. — All was quiet at the entrance of Hill ’n Dale Club on Saturday afternoon.

But down the narrow, windy path through the 400-acre private park, at 3605 Poe Road, shotgun shots echoed from a group of women learning how to “shoot clay,” many of them for the first time.

About 60 women signed up for the Medina County Women in the Outdoors event, sponsored by the National Wild Turkey Federation. It was the largest group in the event’s 10-year history.

Beginning at 8:30 a.m., each participant could take four classes, ranging from fencing to outdoor survival, timber cruising to bee keeping. Winemaking, fishing and archery were also among the classes.

“The largest segment coming onto the outdoor scene is women,” Mark Choltko of Brunswick said. Choltko, a volunteer from the Medina Farmers and Sportsman League, taught archery.

“This is a basic introduction to outdoor activities, things their husbands and sons might do,” he said. “But (archery is) not a male-dominated sport — it’s open to everyone.”

Kim Puhalla of Medina brought her 12-year-old daughter Ashley to help her earn Girl Scout merit badges. She said she was more comfortable learning traditionally male sports with other women.

“With this, the guys teach us without there being a level of intimidation,” Puhalla said. “It’s a big level of comfort. Everyone is so open-minded, and they explain things on a level that you understand.”

Carrie Cartwright of Rittman has attended the Women in the Outdoors event for three years. She said she has learned several things she never knew before, though “finding out I could skeet shoot and do it very well” was one of her favorite memories.

Still, she said one of the most rewarding experiences was forging friendships with other women at the event.
“It’s also the camaraderie,” she said. “You talk to women from all walks of life.”

Choltko said one explanation for why more women are participating in outdoor activities is that more families are learning outdoor sports together, including moms and sisters.

“The demographics are becoming more urban, so there’s a call to come back to a more rural way of enjoying life and nature,” he said.

Puhalla agreed, saying that outdoor activities are an inexpensive way for her to spend time with her family.

“It’s a great way to get outdoors and learn outdoor things versus going to the mall,” she said. “I think it’s a great way to bring the family together, and I think it touches a family closer than going to a place like King’s Island or Disneyland.”

Contact Lisa Hlavinka at (330) 721-4048 or lhlavinka@ohio.net.

Volunteer Jim Maple teaches Erin Schwochow, 23, of Elyria, how to skeet shoot, and "break clay." (Photo by Lisa Hlavinka, The Gazette.)

Volunteer Jim Maple teaches Erin Schwochow, 23, of Elyria, how to skeet shoot, and "break clay." (Photo by Lisa Hlavinka, The Gazette.)