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SAVE THE DATE! Our 39th Annual Gathering will be held on Sept. 28 - 30, 2018, at Becket Chimney Corners in Becket, MA. Stay tuned for more information about this exciting weekend.

See below for some of the highlights from our 38th Annual National Gathering over Memorial Day Weekend 2017. 

REGISTRATION IS BEING DONE AT THE BERKSHIRE OUTDOOR CENTER'S SITE. STAY TUNED; WE'RE WAITING FOR DETAILS!

Get Ready to Have Fun, Meet Women From Across All Our Regions, and Celebrate  Women Outdoors!

Gathering 2009

This photo is from one of our Gatherings that have taken place on Memorial Day weekends for years. This year, we're having the Gathering in the Berkshires, and we're moving it to the fall. We're very excited about the change and hope you can make it!

What's not changing: women from across the country come together for the Women Outdoors National Gathering: three wonderful days of fun and adventure.  

Whether you're  a hiker or biker, kayaker or swimmer, birder or star gazer, painter or poet, writer or reader, the Women Outdoors Gathering has something for almost everyone.

DAYTIME ACTIVITIES

Kayaking on Half Moon Pond

We'll once again have kayaking and canoeing, but this year, don't bring your own boat. We'll be using the Berkshire Outdoor Center's boats. Other boats are prohibited, given attempts to protect their lake from invasive species. You can, however, bring your own PFD and/or paddle. No worries if you don't have them: the BOC does. Stay tuned for early registration in Bonna's paddling workshops: we're opening this up first to Women Outdoors members before the broader group of participants at the Women's Wellness Weekend. Sign up early!

Adventure Element - The Climbing Tower

Berkshire Outdoor Center is home to the largest, most comprehensive educational Challenge Course facility in the Northeastern United States, with over 60 combined low and high elements.

At the Chimney Corners facility where the Gathering will be held in 2018, the High Elements include:

  • Twin Trapeze
  • Climbing Panels
  • Double Dangle Duo
  • Cat Walk
  • Inclined Logs
  • Twin Zip Lines
  • High Teeter Totter
  • Vertical Play Pen
  • Vertical Cargo Net
  • Teeter Totter Bridge
  • High All Aboard
  • Burma Loops
  • Jeebie Lunge
  • Swinging Islands
  • Islands In The Sky

We're working now with BOC (Berkshire Outdoor Center) on the agenda, but we can tell you that their past weekends have included an extremely rich, diverse set of activities and workshops: everything from night hikes to cheesemaking. Women Outdoors is going to enrich their already jam-packed agenda with well-loved activities from past Gatherings: a long hike (on the Appalachian Trail), kayaking instruction from our beloved Bonna Wieler, and leadership training, to mention a few. Stay tuned: you're going to have a tough time choosing what activities  to take part in, but be warned: youre advised to sign up early for water activities on Becket Lake: Women Outdoors members get first crack at available slots!

EVENING ACTIVITIES

Camp fire

We'll have one less night than at past Memorial Day Gatherings, but plans right now have us still having a dance and the national Women Outdoors all-member meeting. 

Plus, of course, we'll still have the always entertaining Coffee House Review – a talent show of Women Outdoors members that we're also opening up to non-WO members from the Women's Wellness Weekend. Be prepared to make new friends! 

Becket-Chimney Corners YMCA

The Berkshire Outdoor Center staff run the Chimney Corners campus in Becket, Massachusetts. Located on 1,350 acres of beautiful conservation lands in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts, this pristine environment makes for a rustic, natural, secluded experience. An extended network of marked hiking trails criss-crosses the property, providing access to guided nature hikes in the serenity of the natural Berkshires.

Waterways

On over 90 acres, Rudd Pond is an exceptional example of a typical New England pond. Additionally, there's Ice Pond, near the Brewster House (built in 1786 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places), and Smith Pond - a long, narrow pond at the Chimney Corners campus where we'll be staying. BOC owns the land around all three of these ponds, making our stay quite private. No motorized boats are used, providing a peaceful, tranquil experience.

Additionally, several brooks run through the property, some of which have been dammed by American Beavers. These beaver meadows cover many acres. Wetlands created by beavers, as well as other natural vernal and year-round wetlands, are the highlight of the area's backcountry.

The highlight of the waterways, however, is the Peat Bog. Covering about 1.5 acres, the bog is pristine. You'll be able to see species including Pitcher Plants: carnivorous plants that live specifically in that type of habitat.

Recent mammal sightings include beaver, porcupine, otter, fisher, black bear, moose, flying squirrel, red fox, coyote and much more. Check out this page for a list of other recent sitings, including birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians.

Accommodations

Stay tuned: We'll provide details in coming weeks.  In the meantime, check out the Chimney Corners campus accommodation descriptions

Meals

The BOC dining staff serve three meals a day in their fabulous dining hall. Each meal is served hot, is nutritionally balanced and includes a vegetarian option. Special arrangements must be made with the Food Service Department for guests with allergies who require special meals.

BOC tries to accommodate guests with food allergies & food sensitivities to the best of its abilities. They always accommodate guests with life-threatening allergies to the eight major allergenic foods and will try their best to accommodate food sensitivities. However, guests with these sensitivities must understand that this is not always possible; All BCCYMCA guests & staff have the opportunity to complete a food allergy questionnaire, to be completed during registration.

Registration Fees

Stay tuned for details: the plan is to register at the Berkshire Outdoor Centre site. We're working on getting registration codes for Women Outdoors members, regional contacts and board members. 


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