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The two-day camp offers events not usually available locally.

The first Women's Outdoor Weekend - WOW, for short - promises an ambitious program for 50 adventurous women.

They will delve into nature's wonders while navigating among flora, fauna and geography. They will learn about fishing, canoeing and archery and learn how to install outdoor features to green up and enhance their yards.

"It's brand new, a special event for our department," said Penny Oliver, who has assembled the Nov. 8 and 9 program for the Hernando County Recreation Department. "We were looking for things in the community not available."

Set for Lakewood Retreat, the bucolic wooded enclave bordering St. Clair's Lake east of Brooksville on Dan Brown Hill Road, the camp includes rustic bunk-bed cabins, a dining hall, outdoor classroom and table game room. Says Harry Johnson, manager of recreation, "It's not roughing it, but it's a little more roughing it than staying in a motel."

It's a little like a Girl Scout camp for grown-ups, the seminars and hands-on activities geared to a more experienced and savvy audience.

Workshops, with 15 women participating at a time, will include:

- Basic wilderness survival, compass and map reading, knot tying, assembling a tent.

- Archery, fishing, boating, hiking, outdoor cooking.

- Vegetable gardening, composting, butterfly gardening, landscaping for wildlife.

- Team building pursuits via a low-rope climbing exercise and foosball, a game utilizing a ball, wall and fence that requires communication with teammates.

- Available during free time are canoeing, fishing, horseshoes, table tennis, miniature golf and tennis.

Camp staffers and workshop leaders represent the recreation department, Lakewood Retreat, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the state Department of Forestry, Chinsegut Hill Nature Center, Cooperative Extension and Florida Yards and Neighborhoods.

A special attraction on Sunday morning will be a two-hour presentation by life coach and motivational speaker Lori Bainum titled "Gaining Clarity in Your Life, Attracting What You Want and Dreaming Effectively." Bainum is also an advertising executive for the St. Petersburg Times.

All campers should bring a sleeping bag or bed linens plus towel and personal toiletries. After all, Johnson said, a little "roughing it" would be involved. Fishing tackle and tennis rackets should be carried along for those who want to pursue those sports.

Adds Oliver, "Bring cameras for outdoor photography and memories."

Beth Gray can be contacted at


Book your spot

Cost for the Women's Outdoor Weekend is $125, which includes all programs, meals from lunch on Saturday through lunch on Sunday and a Saturday night campfire with kettle corn. Reservations must be made by Wednesday at or by calling 352-754-4031. Additional information also is available at both of those contacts.