Outdoor Journey for Girls ("OJ") is a 3-day, 2-night workshop aimed at introducing outdoor skills to girls ages 12-15 in a supportive, learning environment where they have opportunities to try things "hands-on". The outdoor skills include: canoeing & water safety, basic orienteering, fish & wildlife identification, archery, game care, lake fishing, firearm safety and basic shooting, camping & outdoors survival, preparing & enjoying your catch, conservation & management, and furbearers/harvesting.
The western Iowa programs are held at the IDNR’s Springbrook Education Center, north of Guthrie Center. We have also added a (smaller) camp held at Black Hawk County Conservation Board’s Hickory Hills Park.
Within the program the girls have the opportunity to become certified in Iowa's Hunter Education program.
OJ instructors are DNR conservation officers, biologists and other personnel, county conservation board naturalists and representatives from other agencies like the Natural Resource Conservation Service and Iowa State University.
OJ began in 1992 with one camp and was expanded to two in 1995. It has been featured in Newsweek and Pheasants Forever magazines, across the state and country on television (including Nickelodeon), and in newspapers. Several states have attended OJ to learn more and possibly start similar camps in their states.
Over 1500 girls have participated so far. Best of all, everyone from the participants to the instructors has fun!
Outdoor Journey is sponsored by the Iowa DNR and Iowa Women in Natural Resources, with Iowa Pheasants Forever chapters providing full or partial scholarships for most attendees.
For more information go to www.iowadnr.gov/oj/.