COLEBROOK, Conn. – Women Gone Wild is back by popular demand and participants are armed and ready for the fight against MS, literally. On Sunday, June 7, women will learn outdoor activities such as riflery, archery and skeet shooting.
The event, hosted by the Northwest Connecticut Sportsmen's Association (NWCSA) in Colebrook, is for women interested in learning about the outdoors. Last year 11 courses were offered, including fly fishing, trap shooting, hiking, tracking and self defense.
MaryAnn Orzell, who participated in 2008, said she had not fired a gun in 35 years, but that practicing riflery was her favorite activity at the event. “It was awesome,” said Orzell, who has MS and attended Women Gone Wild with her two daughters. “It was very educational and we had a blast.”
In addition to the courses, participants will receive lunch, event t-shirt and a chance to win prizes in a silent auction following the lessons. Proceeds benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Connecticut Chapter and the more than 6,000 Connecticut residents who live with the potentially devastating effects of MS. Last year the event attracted more than 90 women, who helped to raise almost $3,000.
“Women Gone Wild is the highlight of my year,” Jennifer Zordan, the event’s organizer said. “Many women say they didn’t expect to have so much fun. They really learn a lot about themselves, which is amazing to me.”
The registration fee is $50 before May 10, $55 per person after that and there is a $90 mother and daughter special (age 14 and over).
Zordan said the women who shoot skeet for the first time are very surprised at how exhilarating it is.
Zordan is an NRA Certified pistol safety instructor who resides in Torrington. She was diagnosed with MS in 2000 — six weeks before her wedding. As someone who has always loved the outdoors, Zordan began Women Gone Wild to share her passion with others, and to promote an appreciation of nature.
“She wanted to expose women to the sports she enjoys so much,” said Orzell, a resident of Morris.
Multiple sclerosis can restrict movement. It is a chronic and often disabling disease of the central nervous system. There currently is no cure. Symptoms can include, among other things, numbness in the limbs, difficulties with vision and speech, stiffness, and in more severe cases, total paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot be predicted.
Since it began three years ago, the event has grown from outdoor activities to include courses such as self defense and first aid. “It turned into a ‘girls can do anything’ theme,” Zordan said.
This year Zordan hopes to add two new activities to the program: pest control and roadside auto repair. Orzell said she wants to learn how to fire pistols this June and her daughters want to continue to practice archery.
The event is also an opportunity to showcase local businesses. Last year, several women who enjoyed the self defense course later enrolled at the Karate school that hosted the activity, while another took up new hobbies such as archery and fishing.
“It’s good for everyone; it’s a win-win,” Zordan said.
Women Gone Wild, hosted by NWCSA, will take place on Sunday, June 7, in Colebrook. Each participant will receive four 90-minute classes of her choice, and lunch. Proceeds will benefit the Connecticut Chapter.
For more information about the event please contact Jennifer Zordan at 860-309-9774 or e-mail her firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about MS visit www.ctfightsms.org.
Katy Nally, a resident of West Hartford, Conn., will graduate from the University of Connecticut in May. She is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Arts degree in journalism and serves as a public relations intern at the National MS Society in Hartford. For more information on internship opportunities with the Connecticut Chapter, please contact Karen E. Butler, Vice President of Communications, at kbutler@ctfightsMS.org.