Seventy-five women along with presenters and staff enjoyed the sixth Douthat State Park. September is Women's Friendship month. Statistics show that women with close friendships are more likely to handle stress and meet life's challenges and it was easy to see how this works as we gathered at Douthat State Park to relax, rejuvenate, make friends, strengthen friendships, enjoy the outdoors and learn something new.
More than forty women took advantage of a special Friday add-on excursion to the Jefferson Pools, Homestead and Falling Springs Falls while some others spent the day kayaking with Riders Up! Outfitters. Friday night we gathered for dinner and an inspirational talk by internationally acclaimed motivational speaker Donna Tyson. Some women headed to a moonlight canoe trip (so, okay there wasn't much moon due to the cloud cover) while others played a card game called "Big Booger."
For the first time ever, Saturday's programs included a Basics in Firearms program and a double session of Defensive Tactics for Women. Three of Virginia State Parks' finest Conservation Officers certified to train our law enforcement staff, Charlie Conner, Al Cire and Dave Summers, presented those programs. Charlie is Douthat's Park Manager, Al Cire a District Resource Specialist and Dave Summers our Law Enforcement Manager.
Douthat Park Manager, Charlie Conner, in the Basics of Firearms session
It was difficult to choose between the many sessions which included several hiking programs (birding, photography, nature and how to hike with your dog), geocaching, canoeing, and kayaking. Attendees enjoyed learning about nature journaling, basketry, outdoor cooking, diy entertaining, how to give yourself a manicure and massage basics. So much to do so little time.
Betty Gatewood helps Merle decorate the cover of her nature journal
Saturday's dinner was a "grill your own steak event" and while we waited for our steaks to cook we enjoyed a fantastic wine tasting from Blue Ridge Vineyard's Barbara Kolb.
There were more sessions on Sunday and a last lunch before participants left Douthat to return to home.
I have been involved in this program from the start and while our "Women's Wellness Team" works hard before and during the event and we don't get to attend the sessions ourselves, the weekend does a lot to strengthen our team.
Some of the "Women's Wellness Weekend Team" pose in front of Falling Springs Falls
We are already planning the spring 2012 Women's Wellness Weekend which will be held at First Landing State Park, April 20-22. The Weekend will go on sale December 1, 2011. Watch the Women's Wellness Weekend Facebook Page for more information.
Here's a slide show of the Douthat weekend. Thanks to Linda Cole for adding her photos to the ones taken by our team.