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PHW Women On The Fly

"Being Able To Connect With Other Females Has Empowered Me."

The Women on the Fly Initiative – started in 2023 and officially approved by the PHW Board of Trustees as a new task force in 2024 – recognizes the unique needs of women who have served or are currently serving in the military. This new program – led by a core group of women advocates within the PHW organization (Veteran participants, volunteers, and leaders), the angling industry, and mental health community – is being designed to help PHW better meet the needs of its women Veteran participants both through community-building and online and in-person activities.

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Our Mission Within The Mission

Increase Representation, Recruiting, Recognition, Retention, and Rural programming for female Veterans through outreach, PHW programming and outings, and inter-program community building across the organization.

Our Origins

The program will teach new skills and offer seminars, talks, and sessions that are specific to this population’s needs, and enhance the healing journey by creating inclusive and safe growth opportunities where women may meet one another across geographies through a variety of modalities. We are focused on increasing outreach, participation, and retention within individual local programs, but also creating new and more effective opportunities for women participants to engage with other women throughout the PHW community – regardless of location – to facilitate a more cohesive community for women and further PHW’s mission of serving the needs of all Veterans.

 

PHW Women on the Fly is not meant to replace or become a separate entity. In fact, it is meant to be an effective extension and expansion of the PHW organization to better serve and align with the organization’s established mission, strategy, and goals. It is a calculated initiative that will provide psychological safety, camaraderie, and a welcoming space for women Veterans to heal, together.

What Is Possible – Freedom Ranch Womens Week 2023

Our Origins

In Spring 2023, a number of Veterans from the Montana-based programs were invited to the Stock Farm Cast-and-Blast event in Hamilton, MT. There were only a few women in attendance (3-4), in addition to Kendyl Hanks (Trustee), which is indicative of the disproportionately small number of female Veterans actively participating in PHW programs throughout the country – approximately 6% of our Veteran participants.

 

During this event, two of the women Veteran participants, including Sue Kerver (who is now chairing the Women on the Fly task force) had the opportunity to have a candid discussion with PHW leadership and Board members about the need to increase representation, recruitment, recognition, retention and rural opportunities for women participants, which have become the foundational tenants of the PHW Women on the Fly program.

 

This conversation stemmed from previous experiences where these Veterans often were the only women to attend or participate in their local PHW meetings, trips, and co-ed events, resulting in feelings of frustration, isolation, and disconnection. Sometimes these Veterans were the only women involved in an entire local PHW program.

 

From these conversations, a women’s retreat was coordinated in Snowmass, Colorado, in the summer of 2023, personally hosted by Board member Kendyl Hanks (who co-founded and serves on the task force alongside Sue Kerver). This first meeting brought together over a dozen women from Colorado programs that have the largest contingency of female participants. During this retreat, and through a post-retreat survey, the attendees expressed the need for more inclusivity and support, programming, education, and outing opportunities tailored for women (whether women-only or co-ed), and opportunities to connect with women Veterans throughout the organization. By investing in these changes, they shared, PHW can do a much better job helping our women Veterans feel safe, empowered, and engaged – and we will be better able to recruit, retain, and serve our women Veteran participants.

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