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Women's Outdoor Retreat 2017

  • Hickory Knob State Resort Park 1591 Resort Drive McCormick, SC, 29835 United States (map)

9/12/17 Announcement:  Thank you for your patience as we have assessed many factors regarding the weather and our event this weekend.  We are happy to report that we will proceed as planned!!  We look forward to seeing you Friday!

The Women’s Outdoor Retreat is a weekend event designed for women to experience nature and outdoor recreation with like-minded ladies in a non-competitive environment. Nature walks, kayaking, fishing, outdoor cooking, and photography are just a few of the nearly 30 classes from which to choose.


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The Retreat is presented by the South Carolina Wildlife Federation and sponsored by Cabela’s and Hickory Knob State Resort Park. We are pleased to have the support of several outfitters and organizations including the SC Department of Natural Resources, Stone Point Archery, Earth Connection Outfitters, Angling Women, Berkeley County Blueways, Colonial Ladies Society, Clemson University Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management, Savannah Lakes Village, Blueway Adventures, and River Runner Outdoor Center.  These partnerships enable us to provide a wide variety of activities conducted by a diverse group of expert instructors.  A special thank you is due to the numerous individual volunteers who so willingly donate their time to share their knowledge and expertise.          

LOCATION:  Headquarters is Hickory Knob State Resort Park - 1591 Resort Drive, McCormick, SC.  The park is located about 2 hours west of Columbia, SC.  The closest airport is located in Augusta, GA. 

AGE GUIDELINES:  Open to females age 16 and older (no maximum age).  Girls ages 16-18 must be accompanied by responsible adult – no supervision will be provided. 

DATES/TIMES:  The Retreat will open for check-in at 11:30 am on Friday, September 15th.  The first class begins at 1:30 pm on Friday, and the last class concludes at noon on Sunday the 17th.          

REGISTRATION:  The registration fee is $100 per person.  Meals and lodging are separate (see below). 

MEALS:  Hickory Knob has a full-service restaurant serving three meals each day.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets are available, as well as a full menu of options.  Lighter options include a soup and salad bar for lunch or dinner. 

You may choose to purchase our Retreat Meal Plan for $65 per person, which will allow you to avoid standing in the cashier’s line after each meal.  The meal plan covers the hot buffet & salad bar, drink & gratuity for each included meal - plan includes all of these meals: Friday dinner, Saturday breakfast, lunch and dinner, and Sunday breakfast.  The meal plan is only available in advance, and no partial meal plans will be sold.

A special effort has been made to ensure that the meals are affordable and meet the dietary needs of everyone attending the retreat, including those preferring a vegetarian meal.  The cabins have fully-equipped kitchens, but hotel rooms have no cooking facilities.  Grills are not allowed in rooms.    

OVERNIGHT ACCOMMODATIONS:  Hickory Knob’s accommodations include motel rooms and cabins.  Camping is also available.  You are encouraged to stay at the park in order to enjoy the full experience and the camaraderie of the other participants.  

Please call Hickory Knob at 1-800-491-1764 to make lodging arrangements.  Be sure to tell them you are with the Women’s Outdoor Retreat.  Lodging is reserved for this retreat only until August 1st.  Rooms are expected to sell out quickly – reserve yours early!  If park is full, contact SCWF for alternatives.                                                                          

Lodging Rates for 2017 are as follows: 

Hotel Room - $75.00 per night plus tax.  Includes 2 double beds and private bathroom, sleeps up to 4 people. All rooms have satellite TV, coffee pot (coffee provided each day) and phone; some rooms also include small fridge, microwave, hair dryer, iron and ironing board.

Cabin - $115.00 per night plus tax.  Includes kitchen with refrigerator and stove/oven, living room with sofa (they are no longer sleepers) and bedroom with 2 double beds, private bath. Also includes 2 satellite TVs, coffee pot (bring coffee – they will have some in there) and phone. If you plan on cooking, you might want to bring your own cookware, etc. They have a fry pan and a pot, basic plates, bowls etc. They do not provide sharp knives.

Campsites in park campground - 44 sites typically rent for $18-$25 per night. Nightly rates vary and are subject to change. The campground is convenient to restroom facilities with hot showers. All sites accommodate RVs up to 30 feet, 21 of which are waterfront. Tent camping is also permitted. *please note that campground is approx. 2 miles from event headquarters & meeting rooms*

REFUNDS:  90% of registration fees will be refunded when requested in writing or by email on or before August 25th.  50% of registration fees will be refunded if requested between August 26 - September 8th. 

Click here to see photos from our 2016 Women's Outdoor Retreat.

CLASSES:  When you register, you will choose 10 classes in order of preference.  You will be assigned to as many of your choices as possible – a minimum of six (6) and up to eight (8) workshops. Most classes last approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes, but some last up to 4 hours.   A confirmation letter with your class schedule will be sent about a week prior to the Retreat.  Schedule changes can be made upon arrival at Hickory Knob.

ONLINE REGISTRATION HAS CLOSED FOR THIS EVENT, but you may still download this REGISTRATION FORM and mail it in with a check.  We will hold your check until we determine if we have room for you in the classes you select.

Questions?  Email Sara Green, SCWF Director of Education.



ARCHERY - One of the oldest methods of hunting involves the skilled use of a bow and arrows.  You will learn some of these skills as you test your aim with stationary targets with instructors from Stone Point Archery.

BACKPACKING - Thinking about backpacking, but don’t know where to begin? Learn the basics of backpacking from the World’s Most Foremost Outdoor Outfitter, Cabela’s. We will teach you about the must have essentials for any trip, how to size a backpack and how to properly stow your gear. We will showcase the latest in backpacking gear and technology–water filtration, cooking gear, solar charging equipment, sleep pads & more.

BACKYARD WILDLIFE HABITAT - Learn how to provide food, water, cover, and places to raise young for wildlife to supply a natural habitat for a variety of birds, butterflies, and other wildlife.

BASIC SEWING ($) – Does sewing on buttons baffle you?  Does hemming leave you hawing?  Learn the basic hand sewing stitches that all ladies of the past relied on and that you can use today.  Costumed interpreters from the Colonial Ladies Society will teach you basic sewing techniques and show you some of the fashions of the Colonial period.  Sewing sample book included.

BIRDING - A certified South Carolina Master Naturalist & Palmetto Pro Birder will help you improve your birding skills through field observations using field guides, identifying marks and calls, and will lead a walk in the park listing the species observed.

CANOEING - One of the most relaxing ways to enjoy the outdoors. Learn basic strokes and how to have a safe outing whether on a river or a lake.

CARDIO SELF DEFENSE - In this class, you will learn some basic self-defense techniques…but first we will get your blood pumping with a workout!

COLONIAL WOMEN’S WORK – Learn about the Four Fibers that made America! Costumed interpreters from the Colonial Ladies Society will "spin" the story about wool, linen, silk, and cotton fibers. Fiber production, spinning and use of the fibers will be "woven" into the story of women during the American Revolution. 

ESSENTIAL OILS ($) – Explore and learn about the healing benefits of essential oils. Learn how nature’s medicine cabinet can help you take care of you and your family’s health by utilizing essential oils as your go-to in first-aid situations.

FISH CLEANING & COOKING - Learn to clean, prepare and cook your catch of the day from South Carolina’s many lakes and streams. 

FRESHWATER FISHING - Learn the fundamentals of fishing on our inland lakes and streams with basic equipment, and then try your luck. A valid SC Fishing License is required, and can be purchased from the SC Department of Natural Resources or most places where tackle is sold.  

GEOCACHING - This is an exciting adventure game using Global Positioning Systems (GPS).  You will use a GPS to find caches that have been hidden throughout the park.  Once found, a cache may provide the visitor with a wide variety of rewards. 

JEWELRY-MAKING ($) – Learn how to create natural jewelry with found or up-cycled items. You will also create a custom crystal pendant necklace from a South Carolina surface-mined quartz point, colorful Fimo clay, and hemp.  

KAYAKING INTRO - Recreational kayaking allows you to float on a peaceful river or paddle around a pond or lake as you enjoy nature’s beauty.  You will learn basic paddling strokes, safety techniques, self-rescue and more in this introductory class.   

KNOT TYING – In this interactive workshop, you will learn to tie basic knots for camp craft.  Learn the difference between granny and square knots, hitches and more.  Hands-on participation will help you master those basic knots.

LAKE THURMOND PADDLE - Enjoy a leisurely paddle in a kayak along the coves and shoreline of Hickory Knob as you explore the natural beauty and watch for wildlife. (Paddling is not difficult, but if you’ve never been in a kayak, we recommend selecting the Kayaking Intro class also).

LEAF CASTING ($) - Sand casting of leaves is the art of spreading a mixture of concrete and sand on the back of a real leaf.  We will use real garden leaves and put the special mix on top of the leaf which serves as the mold. You will also learn how to preserve your leaf and how to paint it.

MAP & COMPASS READING - Techniques of land navigation can be used to find your way along unfamiliar terrain or in orienteering competition.  It also enables you to identify and understand geologic features as you travel along the more out-of-the-way roads.  ***this is a double class***

NATURAL TREASURES OF SOUTH CAROLINA – Take a journey across South Carolina, from the mountains to the sea, without leaving the classroom! Learn about some of the many beautiful places which showcase SC wildlife and natural history, and the best time to go. Be sure your next road trip includes some of these places which are easily accessible and appeal to a variety of interests, from hiking to birding to kayaking.

NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY - Use your own digital camera to take beautiful scenic shots and outdoor family photos. Gain knowledge about your camera settings, digital filters, options and accessories needed to get the perfect outdoor shot.  Bring your digital camera and owner’s manual with you (Film cameras also welcomed).

NATURE SPA ($) - Learn how to use and enjoy beauty secrets from Mother Nature's pantry.  You will have the opportunity to make some bath salts and other spa products for yourself or for gifts to carry home. If you would like to experience each step of the way, please wear a "clean" face.

OUTDOOR COOKING – Learn from the World’s Most Foremost Outdoor Outfitter, Cabela’s, how cooking outdoors is made easy through proven techniques, different equipment, and the sharing of recipes.  Learn cooking shortcuts, fire building, and equipment care while tasting the fixin’s.

PADDLEBOARDING - The fast-growing sport of stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is a fun, easy way to go play on the water.  Paddleboarding offers an amazing full-body workout and is becoming a favorite cross-training activity.

SALTWATER FISHING – Even though we will be far from the coast, you can learn some coastal basics!  Learn how to rig your fishing rod for targeting marine species. Not only will we learn about rigging techniques, but also how to catch bait along the coast. Learn how to set a minnow trap, throw a cast net, and more coastal tips.

SKEET SHOOTING & FIREARMS SAFETY ($) - Learn how to safely handle a firearm and polish your hand-eye coordination and quick reflexes when you take aim at clay “pigeons.” 

WALK ON THE WILD SIDE - Come along with a naturalist on an exploration of the park as she interprets the great diversity of wildlife and other natural features. 

WILDERNESS FIRST AID – This class provides updated information on how to handle common and severe injuries and illnesses when medical care is an hour or more away.  This comprehensive training program will teach you what to look for and what to do in the event of an emergency and direct you to the most advanced appropriate type of care. ***this is a double class***

YOGA - This practice will invite a quieting of the mind while also exercising the body with postures that encourage strength, stretching and letting go of tension.  For all levels of yoga practice (no experience necessary).

($) – indicates an additional materials fee of $5 per person will be collected at check-in for each of these classes.


QUESTIONS?  Please contact Sara Green at the South Carolina Wildlife Federation through email HERE

Earlier Event: September 9
POSTPONED - Celebrate our Refuge
Later Event: October 16
Native Plant Week