As I process our first National Shooting Chapter Leader Conference held this past weekend in St. Louis, MO, although my head is spinning, a few very profound things are clear.
1. Our leaders are truly something special.
This group of leaders is not just hundreds of women doing the same thing. This is a “Sisterhood” of women on a joint mission. They are trailblazing new territory for women shooters and they rely on, support, and encourage one another through some rugged territory with a rather unique bond. Let’s face it, women can be extremely competitive, but somehow the level of maturity, professionalism, and confidence that these women display is down right impressive. In the Effective Leadership seminar, we explored the reality that what we do is about way more than the gun. At its core, it’s about building a woman’s confidence, and to lead women to greater confidence, we must BE women of confidence. These leaders are committed, passionate, and united behind this mission of ours to Educate, Equip and Empower women.
2. Women love SWAG and winning guns!
You wouldn’t believe it if I told you how many guns and how much SWAG we were blessed to give away this past weekend! We received firearms and product donations from dozens of generous companies. We were giving guns and gifts away throughout the entire conference – morning noon and night! We even had our very own male gun models help out! Many of our leaders were buying extra bags and suitcases to carry their ‘loot’ home. If only you could have heard the squeals of all the winners!
3. Women are a powerful force.
The Second Amendment is at the core of all we do at The Well Armed Woman. No, we are not a political organization, but we are an organization of women who are becoming more and more politically active as they grow to fully comprehend what is at stake. Tears were shed and hearts were convicted as presentations and discussions were had on the truths of our Second Amendment. Both the truth of what it is and what it means, presented by Mike Abramovich and the truth of the current threats against it shared by Gabby Franco. As women gun owners become more educated and more confident as a voice, those that stand in the way or against these rights had better watch out or get out of the way! No one is more effective on a mission than a passionate woman! Women WILL influence legislation – there is no doubt.
4. A new bridge has been laid.
Never before has there been a solid bridge for the industry to ‘connect’ with the women’s market. They have wanted to enter our kingdom, but a great moat divided us. We as women haven’t had the effective means to reach and communicate with them, and they, the industry, haven’t had the platform to reach us. We have been staring across the moat at one another with no way to get across. The bridge has been built and now we connect, and boy did we connect at this conference. Our brave sponsors not only supported this event, they participated in it, all of it. We had panels and discussions, shared meals together, and candidly talked about what was needed from women and from the industry. Of course the bridge isn’t complete and many bricks are yet to be laid but this genuine and substantial dialogue firmly sets the foundation. Thanks to all of our sponsors who didn’t just help to make this happen – they MADE it happen. Special thanks to Carissa and Sarah of Ruger, Kie, Warren, Marty and Phil of Glock, Becky of Walther Arms, Jennifer of Gun Toten Mama’s Steve from Omaha Targets, Paul of Ultimate Defense and Brittany of Top Gun Shooting Sports for attending the conference and laying some bricks!
5. The baby is ready.
When I launched the TWAW Shooting Chapter Program, I knew it was a good idea and one that women wanted, but I didn’t know what it would grow into – now I do.
This program has grown so large so quickly, it has been like having a child, The baby is born, fed and nurtured. Her legs become strong enough to support her weight, her identity, values, and personality are fully formed, and the time comes to let her go. I announced to our leaders at the conference that The Well Armed Woman will be applying for and transitioning The Well Armed Woman Shooting Chapters into a 501 (c)(3) Non Profit organization. I am so proud of all that this program has created and inspired, but it needs new levels of support and access to dollars that it just can’t generate on it’s own to fully realize its purpose. Things will continue very much as they have, and I will continue to lead the organization as the Chairwoman of the Board. My companies, The Well Armed Woman website/Store and The Well Armed Woman Instructor Training programs will continue to grow as my private businesses.
A heartfelt thank you to all of our sponsors and donating companies, we are proud to have you as friends and supporters.