Women's Outdoor Events: Hosting 101
Updated: Mar 2
Social media users may have noticed an increase in groups of women getting together for outdoor activities over the past year, especially fishing and hunting related. Social media has a huge impact on getting women together, which is truly incredible. From personal experience, many women find great joy in meeting a fellow sportswoman they have been “following” for several weeks, months, and even years. It is an incredible experience to be surrounded by others that are like-minded and admire similar hobbies. Especially when you only see a small glimpse of who someone is through their online world. However, if you have never gone on an all-women’s trip, it can be intimidating. I have been on both sides—hosting and attending. Both are intimidating but can be unbelievably life changing and incredibly inspiring.
I have had several people reach out and ask how they can start a group near them, and I am always 100% honest. It is a lot of work that requires a big-time commitment but is forever worth it. Now, I am no expert event planner; who is? Something will always go wrong, even if that something is a minuet issue. Someone will always have something negative to say, even if what they say seems a bit ridiculous. The important part is to put the right amount of time and effort into the planning so most of everything will run smoothly. Let me share a very brief backstory for those that might not know…
In January of 2019 I held my first event, “Ladies Midwest Meetup.” This event was for ladies from around the Midwest to get together for ice fishing and learning. However, in the end twenty-three of us became closer than we ever thought was possible. Almost all the ladies talked about what next year might have in store, which sparked the idea to hold the gathering for a second year. So, this year I held the 2nd annual Ladies Midwest Meetup, which brought 53 anglers from all over the Midwest together in Northern Wisconsin. We took over a small lake (yes, literally took it over) and caught so many fish. It was another unforgettable experience. I truly could go on and on about how much fun that weekend was, but I want to share some tips on how to host a successful ladies event instead. I think it is amazing to see so many women getting together, not just in the Midwest but all over, and I want to share what I have learned from my own process.
The number one thing to a successful event is organization, hands down. The planning process is going to look different for everyone, but something that should always be in common is staying organized. You want to keep on top of anything that might come up unexpectedly. I won’t go into specifics here, but google drive, excel spreadsheet, and Facebook are tools that I use—to name a few. I want to stress this paragraph because if you are not organized, people attending your event will take notice.
Now the planning….WHAT, WHERE, WHEN?
What type of event are you wanting to host? Low-key or sponsored? Low-key meaning you are doing it to simply get women together for a certain cause/reason. A sponsored event is when brands/businesses do just that—sponsor your event in some way (donation of goods, donation of time, etc.) If you are planning to go the sponsored route, it is best to start reaching out to companies 5-6 months ahead of time. You will want this much time, so companies do not feel rushed in deciding to sponsor/donate. Plus, you will find some companies are better at getting back to you than others. Follow-up emails and phone calls are always a part of a sponsored event.
A few details go into this category—location, number of people, and cost for attendees. It is best to start with the number of people you are planning to have attend the event. If you are planning to host your very first event, I highly suggest keeping the numbers small. A smaller group is much easier to manage, and a schedule is easier to coordinate. Then, you will be able to research locations that will accommodate your group size. Taking the cost of the event into consideration is important because you do not want people to pay a big chunk, especially if they are traveling from far. What will attendees pay for? Well, that is up to you. Lodging and food are the big factors to take into consideration, but other expenses may arise depending on the type of event you’re putting on. Make a list of all the costs so you have a good idea of how much will be necessary for each person to pay – (this will depend on the length of your event, of course.)
Then, it is time to pick the number of days and dates you are wanting to host. This might depend on where you’re staying, especially if it is a resort that needs a reservation held. Advice for this part is to keep it short for the first go around.
Once you have planned the what, where, and when, it is time to get the word out. Social media is a big help with this but does not have to be the only way. The rest of the planning is up to you, the host. As I mentioned before, the planning process will look different for everyone. Have fun with it and be creative! Ask those that have interest in attending what they want to learn and do. An event that you host is not about you at all, it is about what you are offering and is for the people that attend.
These are the very basics for hosting a successful women’s group event. I hope this article will help in your planning process. I am always happy to answer questions, so please do not hesitate to reach out on social media or via email (links below.) I am an open book with this because the more women that represent the outdoors, the better!
Thanks for reading and until next time, enJOY the outdoors.
A few photos from LMM 2020!