I don’t talk about our instructor certification courses much, but after spending last weekend with 15 more amazing women who are determined to push through whatever it took to become the best firearms instructors they could be, I just can’t resist. When I launched this division of The Well Armed Woman in February of 2012, all I knew was that the ‘institution’ of firearms training had to change. Not that it was bad, no, but because the industry didn’t seem to understand just how different women truly are, and with so many women coming to gun ownership, naturally adaptation was necessary. The industry didn’t understand just how differently our female brain works and how we process and learn information and new skills differently then men do. It didn’t seem to address the unique journey women are on toward self-protector and the needs this creates. It is my desire to train instructors to understand and teach to these differences, to teach them to filter and apply this understanding to all aspects of firearms training for women. Instructors need a new pair of glasses with a different prescription lens. Everything from the pre-course relationship, the training environment, how the training material is delivered and the relationship that follows is changed to meet the needs of women shooters.
The Well Armed Woman has now trained over 200 female instructors from every nook and cranny of this country who are literally, changing the way women are trained. I love cheering them on as they begin to teach classes and grow as instructors. There is a bit of a target on the backs of these women as they forge new ground under the pressure to prove themselves in a very competitive, male driven industry. They are under intense scrutiny and criticism from some that just have a hard time with change or with us whippersnappers coming in and stirring the pot!
My partner, Mike Abramovich, owner of Certified Instruction and Training (yes, a man) is an NRA Training Counselor and one of ‘those’ men who just ‘gets it’. He was my TC and, of course I was the only woman in the class. His level of respect, his laser focus on providing quality instruction coupled with the gift of intuitively knowing what I needed to grow, made him my natural choice for a partner. I get asked at every training why I have not partnered with a woman? My answer goes something like this: “you will fully understand by the time we get to Sunday”. They always do.
Although we train women to train women, it is not because I think this is the the only way women should train or that men can’t train women, or that women can’t train men, of course they can! The Well Armed Woman is about empowering women and although you may not fully understand, if you could see what these women push through and overcome through this process, you would. I will share some quotes with you, not to say that Mike and I are anything special or better instructors, because we’re not, but I share them because their words can do a better job expressing what I am trying to communicate. We just see and understand what lies at the heart of this journey they put themselves on and the challenges they as women must overcome and we ‘push’ them to believe in themselves. Trust me, it’s a remarkable transformation that we are honored to be a part of.
“My expectations were to learn and become both an NRA and TWAW certified instructor. Those expectations were exceeded. The positive feedback not only from the instructors, but your class mates built my confidence for the next lesson. I was challenged and pushed further than I ever expected in this class. The instruction was such that you really didn’t realize how much you were gaining, but it showed in the next lesson. Putting the effort into these classes was rewarded with the accomplishments that were gained.
The biggest reward from this class was to be in a room of students and instructors that share the passion for educating woman on guns and self-protection. The tools this class gave me will last a life time. Really this wasn’t just a class, but a total life experience. Bringing woman together from all over the country created a totally awesome learning environment. This is the real deal.” Debbie
“The TWAW Certified Instructor’s Course was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I am only 26 years old, and a domestic violence survivor. TWAW is a large intricate part of why I have become who I am. I wanted to find a way to impact the lives of other women, empower them and gain confidence they may have lost or didn’t know they had in the same way TWAW has done for me. Carrie Lightfoot was compassionate, humble, full of life and love for the students in the class – myself included. We were complete strangers, yet a lasting impression of love and support was left with the graduates of this course.” Lindsay
“I have had some time to reflect upon one of the most amazing weekends of my life. I laughed, I cried, I was discouraged and encouraged. I made amazing new friends, and even more memories! I was instructed by some of the best teachers I have ever met, and instructed some of the most empowered I will ever know. I was terrified teaching my first lesson on revolvers as I myself am a semi-auto girl but was elated after breaking through the barriers of the unknown!
I found the confidence I never knew I had as my passion showed through in our lessons! All these words simply can not express all the emotions from this past weekend!
I am so thankful for Carrie Lightfoot and her vision of empowerment, and for Mike Abramovich, I can only hope to one day be 1/2 the instructor he is. This man has an amazing gift, and used it to transform a group of gun enthusiasts into teachers!
I am thankful to all the beautiful, strong, encouraging women I have had the pleasure of training with this weekend. I have learned something from each one of them and will use that to become a better instructor!” Elizabeth
“This weekend has been one of the biggest life changing events in my life. I thought I was going to simply learn how to teach others to shoot and to defend themselves, but it was so much more than that. This weekend I have overcome so many struggles, some of those I didn’t even know I had until this past weekend. I have only found a few things that has made me want to grow like TWAW has. In spite of knowing that the only way to fail is to never try, I have still never tried. I enjoy things that are not too easy and not too hard. Once push comes to shove I usually find something else. This class has done more for me in 3 days than I ever expected.” Frances
“The Well Armed Woman NRA Instructor Course training was extraordinary for its mission, organization, presentation, and outcomes. You took the time to be our mentors and supporters through every phase of the training. Lending your immense expertise to our instruction, creating a proactive learning environment for talented women shooters from all walks of life, from all over the country; and to your constant and unstinting encouragement, respect, and empathy for these women who are enthusiastically dedicated to sharing their knowledge, strengths and aspirations with all those prospective women shooters eager to join their ranks. Your professional demeanor and your personable approach, coupled with your integrity, business acumen, and lasting commitment to those you have trained, is unmatched in any venue. I feel privileged to have been a part of what you have envisioned for every woman gun owner who chooses to protect herself and those she loves.” Nancy