LEHIGH - Brushy Creek was packed with women on Saturday for the park's annual No Woman Left Inside event.
The program, which is put on by Webster County Conservation, offers a variety of classes for women and was held from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
This year's No Woman Left Inside event had a higher number of attendees than usual, according to Erin Ford, the shared naturalist for Webster County Conservation and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari
Cassandra Lewis, of Fort Dodge, holds her gun while Jamie Buenting, an instructor with Iowa Firearms Safety & Tactics, observes her shooting.
"We doubled our participation from last year," she said.
Ford attributed this to interest in the event growing, as well as women who have participated in the program telling their friends.
"I think we have ladies who have seen it and wanted to participate for awhile," she said. "We also have people talking about it through word of mouth."
She said the event happens every year, but it's never exactly the same from year to year.
"We try to change it up every few years," she said. "We look at our events to see what worked and what didn't work."
This year's events included handgun training, canoeing, Dutch oven cooking, basket weaving and clay pigeon shooting.
Several of the women who signed up for this year's event took part in the handgun training, which included a session on how to use the guns, which was followed by live shooting.
Randi Goodno, of Fort Dodge, said she was taking part in No Woman Left Inside for the third time, but it was her first time signing up for the gun session.
"I'd don't have much handgun experience," she said. "I'm more of a shotgun girl."
Goodno said she's interested in concealed weapons and wanted to learn how to safely handle a gun.
"I've learned so much about the law for carrying and what you can and can't do," she said.
Amy Boyle, of Ankeny, was also signed up for the handgun training. Unlike Goodno, she was participating in No Woman Left Inside for the first time.
"I've never done anything like this before," she said. "It seemed really fun and interesting."
Boyle, who also participated in archery and clay shooting, said she'd never fired a handgun before.
"It was pretty cool," she said. "There's a lot of anticipation leading up to the actual shot."
Deena McCaulley, of Manson, also fired her first handgun on Saturday.
"It was kind of scary, but fun at the same time," she said. "This class is teaching me not to be scared and giving me confidence in owning a firearm."
Another class that was going on Saturday was how to use a Dutch oven to cook food.
The women that participated in that class cooked goulash, biscuits and cobbler with Dutch ovens while being taught how to use them by the instructor.
Janice Hanson, of Duncombe, said the class had sounded interesting.
"I thought this could be something fun," she said. "And I'm able to learn something new."
Hanson said she hopes she'll be able to use the skills she learned Saturday when she goes home, and added that she would recommend the class to her friends.
"It's a lot of fun," she said.
Cathy Russom, of Sac City, took the class because she wanted to learn how to use a Dutch oven.
"My husband got me a Dutch oven for Christmas last year and I thought I'd be able to learn how to use it for cooking," she said.
Many participants of No Woman Left Inside said they would recommend the class to friends, and would probably take part again in the future.
"I wish I would have pursued this before," Boyle said. "But next year I'll be back with a bigger group."