ATLANTA — It’s a tale of two women, hundreds of miles apart, yet they share a common goal: to introduce more women to traditional outdoors activities. Both Pennsylvania’s Katrina Skrapits and Ohio’s Cheryl LaRosa love the outdoors, mainly hunting, and they share their passions with hundreds of women each year.
Their efforts are united under one group, Women in the Outdoors, an education/outreach program of the National Wild Turkey Federation.
For their individual talents and inexhaustible volunteerism, both Skrapits and LaRosa earned the 2008 Annie Oakley Award. Just as the world-famous sureshot spent the better part of her life as an ambassador for shooting sports, these women have given generously of their time to spread the story of wildlife conservation and making outdoor recreation available to women.
Skrapits and LaRosa were honored during a ceremony at the annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show held Feb. 21 to Feb. 23 in Atlanta, Ga.
Cheryl LaRosa, of Gahanna, Ohio
LaRosa’s commitment to the Women in the Outdoors program in Ohio spans county lines. She’s constantly on the road covering every corner of the state, helping several local chapters host successful women’s events.
“I’m shocked, surprised and amazed,” said LaRosa after receiving the NWTF’s Women in the Outdoors program’s top honor. “I thought I would be accepting two little awards for my chapter, no big deal. But winning the Annie Oakley Award is just incredible.”
Ohio’s model event, however, is one LaRosa hosts with the Johnstown Community Sportsman’s Club, which has been recognized by NWTF’s national headquarters as a top event for four years in a row. In 2007, she recruited 169 new members from the Johnstown event alone.
But it’s LaRosa’s unfailing commitment to the program that makes her stand out as a top volunteer.
“Cheryl is always saying `what can I do for you,'” said Renee O’Brokta, Women in the Outdoors regional coordinator for Ohio. “She’s the most genuine person I have ever met and truly comes with `no strings attached.’ If she says she’ll do something, you don’t ever have to worry about it.”
Katrina Skrapits, of Danielsville, Pa.
An avid outdoorswoman, Skrapits loves hunting with her children. But her desire to pass on her passion for the outdoors doesn’t stop with family. Skrapits has coordinated award-winning Women in the Outdoors events in Pennsylvania for four years.
Having only joined Women in the Outdoors in 2004, Skrapits leaped into the program with both feet. She’s equally involved in both the Jerry Zimmerman Memorial Chapter and the Walking Purchase Chapter. In 2007, she brought 100 new members into the Women in the Outdoors fold at a single event.
“Since joining the NWTF’s Women in the Outdoors program, I’ve had opportunities to hunt and enjoy the outdoors, and to work closely with the NWTF,” Skrapits said. “I’m honored to receive an award that represents such an incredible organization.”
Skrapits is a graphic artist by trade and volunteers her talent to local chapters, events and even on the state level. “All you need to do is mention something needs to be done and Trina will jump in,” said Tammy Mowry, Women in the Outdoors Northern National Coordinator. “It will not only be right, it will be beautiful.”
Mowry also commented on how much Skrapits has grown as a person since her involvement with the program. “Her confidence has soared.”
Be a Part of Women in the Outdoors
Legions of women are discovering their “outdoorsy” side, thanks to the NWTF’s Women in the Outdoors program. Whether it was wetting a hook, canoeing down a rolling stream, hunting or hiking off the beaten path, thousands of women found a world of their own during one of more than 375 outdoor events in 2007.