Becoming a ‘Total Woman in the Outdoors’

NorthStar Health System’s Total Women’s Committee is committed to the health and wellness of women.

Part of its mission statement is meeting the total needs of a woman through every step of her life.  For the past four years, the group, along with help from the DNR, has sponsored Total Woman in the Outdoors to embrace that.

“We wanted to do something that was unique, and that would offer them an opportunity to do something in the great outdoors,” NorthStar Health System Director of Customer Service Caryn Johnson said.  “We live in a beautiful area, so this is our commitment to that mission statement.”

Over 200 women participated in Total Woman in the Outdoors, and attended sessions like campfire cooking, self-defense, and learning how to kayak.  One of the most popular activities was the self-defense class, where women learned important steps to fend off a perpetrator.

“I think it’s (self defense) vital for women–and children–to lean how to defend themselves in all areas,” self-defense instructor David Lorenson said.  “We sometimes deceive our self that we’re safe in a beautiful area.  Parks are actually one of those listed areas of danger, so I would say it’s vital for someone to have at least an awareness of what can go wrong in the outdoors, and the more crowded areas.”

Total Woman in the Outdoors’ overall goal is to show women that there plenty of activities and opportunities for them to stay active, no matter their age.

“There’s always something new,” Crystal Falls resident Tanya Koski said.  “They put on a nice spread, they have nice giveaways and it’s just a good time.  It’s good for the community, and there’s lots of interesting things, you meet a lot of interesting people.”

“This gets the whole community and surrounding areas involved.  There’s a lot of things that you learn here, and it’s just a really neat event that NorthStar puts on. I think it teaches women a lot of things.”

“(There’s) some non-strenuous (activities) if you’re a little bit older, some that are a little more (active), you’ll see some paddleboarders, some kayakers, and you’ll see people sitting on a mat doing yoga.  So I think that if offers something everyone, but all are geared towards wellness, and that’s what our goal is, to have a very healthy population that NorthStar Health Systems serves.”