Women’S Outdoor Program Now Just One Day

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Alyssa Olsen and her mother Cindy Olsen work on their archery techniques at the Jim Jones Shooting Range located south of Payson. Archery instruction is one of the skills to be taught at the upcoming Women’s Step Outside Day.

Mary McMullen is hoping that cutting the Women’s Step Outside program from two days to one day will allow for more participation.

“We have a lot of mothers who really didn’t have time to go for two days, so we consolidated it,” said McMullen, the Town of Payson’s trails and outdoor recreation coordinator. “We want to make it easier for people to get out.”

Last year, at the inaugural two-day-long Step Outside program, 12 women signed up, including Jo Ann Wegenke, a part-time resident from the Midwest.

She said she enrolled because, “I’m from Wisconsin, I don’t understand Arizona outside.”

This year, McMullen hopes to enroll the maximum number of women, 30, that Step Outside can handle.

“I believe we’ll reach that, this is a really good program — we just need to get the word out,” she said.

Women’s Step Outside Day will be held 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 22 at Green Valley Park, on the Payson Area Trails System (PATS) and at the Tonto Rim Sports Club Jim Jones Shooting Range, located south of Payson.

Among the highlights of the day will be the visit to the shooting range where women will be allowed to clay target shoot, receive archery instruction and fire .22 caliber rifles.

On hand to instruct will be Arizona Game and Fish officers, including Henry Apfel, and members of the sports club.

Last year, TRSC’s Charlie Thompson was among those to instruct the women marksmen.

“The women told me they were having a great time shooting and were looking forward to coming back next year,” Thompson said.

The campers are scheduled to be at the shooting range from 1 to 4:30 p.m.

Also on the agenda, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., is a fishing clinic at Green Valley Park.

Bill Lawson, a fishing contractor for the state’s game and fish department, is scheduled to lead the clinic with help from McMullen and others.

From 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., the women will participate in a guided naturalist hike on PATS trails.

Arizona Game and Fish officer Randy Babb, also a tour guide for National Geographic, will lead the hike.

“Having him is a wonderful resource,” McMullen said.

Lunch will be served from 12:30 to 1 p.m. at Green Valley Park.

McMullen says the entire clinic will be conducted “within a comfortable learning environment.”

The clinic, obviously brimming with outdoor activities, wraps up from 4 to 4:30 p.m. at the P&R offices with an event evaluation.

The clinic fee is $20 per person and all enrollees must be at least 16 years of age.

Registration may be completed at the P&R offices located in Green Valley Park.

For more information, call McMullen at (928) 474-5242, ext. 7.

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