At the end of each Women’s Wellness Weekend, we ask participants to complete an evaluation. One of the questions asked is “What programs would you like to see offered in the future?”
The responses vary, but a few responses consistently show. Self-defense and firearms are two that have shown up over the years. So, we listened and this fall at the Douthat State Park Women’s Wellness Weekend, both programs will be offered. Traditionally, sessions during the Women’s Wellness Weekend are 1 ½ – 2 hours in length. These two sessions however will be 4 hours each.
Firearms is being taught by Charlie Conner, Douthat State Park Manager and Al Cire, Resource Coordinator based at Douthat. This will be an introductory course. The course is structured for people who have no or limited experience with firearms. There will be a classroom portion as well as a “live fire” exercise in a controlled environment. No certificate will be offered for completing this course.
Self-defense is a serious topic but taught in a fun way. The course is designed for people interested in recognizing and avoiding hazardous situations. The course requires a moderate physical skill. Due to the hands on nature of this course, loose, comfy clothes and tennis shoes are required.
Al Cire began his career with the VA Dept. of Conservation & Recreation in 1988 and has been a Conservation Officer since 1989. He has worked in 3 different state parks, he is currently serving as a District Resource Coordinator stationed at Douthat State Park. He manages the natural and cultural resources of 5 state parks in western VA. Al became a Defensive Tactics Instructor in 1995 and a Firearms Instructor in 1996. He has served as DCR’s Lead Defensive Tactics Instructor since 2002. Al’s study in martial arts began with classes in Aikido.
Charlie Conner began his career with Douthat State Park in 1990 as a seasonal maintenance ranger. He worked his way up through the ranks. Charlie attended the Law Enforcement Academy in 2004. In 2005, he was named Park Manager of Douthat. He is now a firearms instructor.
Registration for the weekend is open, however, space is limited. To register, call 1-800-933-7275.
Douthat State Park, 14239 Douthat State Park Road, Millboro, VA 24460; Phone: (540) 862-8100; email douthat. Learn more about park offerings by calling 1-800-933-PARK or e-mailing resvs. Be sure to specify the park of interest.