Bittersweet Women's Weekend by Jenn Minery

bittersweet
noun  bit·ter·sweet  \ ˈbi-tər-ˌswēt \

Definition of bittersweet
1 : something that is bittersweet; especially : pleasure accompanied by suffering or regret

Winter in New England is a fickle, frustrating mother of a beast at times. She can be kind, beautiful, and peacefully filled with warmth. Other times she is miserably mean, ugly, and agitatedly throwing any blisteringly cold weather event at you, seeing how much longer you can grit your teeth and bare it. When it is a mixed bag of whatever Mother Nature can toss your way, you begin looking for outlets that feed your inner fire, to keep you going.

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Growing up, I swear I was born with planks on my feet and combo that with being from the Berkshires in Western MA, as well as growing up on a 85-acre horse farm, I always made the best of winter, whether it was sledding, downhill skiing, snowboarding, horse sleigh rides, etc. It was fun and it never bothered me. However, I’ll be honest, as I have gotten older, I have struggled in the winter at times. Who knows the reasons as to why. Yet, I know once I get bundled to deal with the elements, I usually have a decent time once I cross past the threshold of my back door.

So when Heidi Myers of Rasputitsa fame posted about a possible NEK VT winter womens weekend, it was like Jim Cantore Weather Channel level thundersnow excitement on my end. It was the white lightening bolt of energy I needed in the upcoming grey winter days.

As the days prior to registration crept by, little tantalizing tidbits of what was going to be offered, kept popping up, such as it being hosted at the Northwoods Stewardship Center in East Charleston, VT, with some amazing sponsors and volunteers from Little Bellas, Colavita, Louis Garneau, Specialized, The Alchemist, and Craftsbury General Store to name a few. Numerous winter activities looked to be on the docket, with a good spattering of indoor activities mixed in because we were in VT at the beginning of Feb and it can *sometimes* be cold, along with workshop type sessions. Holy Smokes Wonder Woman: It was going to be epic!!!

Thanksgiving morning came and I had my computer ready to register well before the 8am opening, for there were only 50 entries and I wanted to ensure that we would get into what I knew would be a one in a lifetime type experience. I lucky was able to coax Kristen into signing up for it as well, for I knew it would be something she would not want to miss.

skiing at bittersweet

 

And now here I am, the BitterSweet Womens Weekend has come and gone….

 

What can I say about it?

Strong

Fierce

Engaging

Fun

Intense

Passionate

Comfortable

Impressive

Humbling

Cool

Empowering

Athletic

Spirited

Challenging

Deep

Sharing

Growing

Knowledgeable

Enjoyable

Tenacious

Meaningful

Thankful

Gutsy

Rockin’

Creative

Feisty

Invigorating

Powerful

Collaborative

Relaxed

Grateful

Connective

Hopeful

 

Bittersweet Women’s Weekend gave me hope. As I meandered through the events and involved myself in the activities, I noticed that there was not an ounce of “suffering or regret” on a single face, regardless of the outside conditions. Only that of pleasure could be seen gracing the amazing faces of the women present.

I watched this weekend empower women from all ages and walks of life, to come together and to have fun. To be their amazing athletic selves, in a space that they were comfortable with. I watched women challenge themselves in new events/skills, myself included, and I watched the smiles spread and heard laughter roaring from all over the campus. We all took part in meaningful and heartfelt conversations on how to involve more women and to grow our numbers in the different activities we each partake in. Where there were questions; there was help and answers. Where there were inquiries; there was engaged and welcoming feedback. Where there was tentativity; there was overwhelming support. Where there was a high five; there usually was a hug that followed.  

Enough thanks cannot be said to all the amazing volunteers and women who helped make this weekend possible. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you and owe you a debt of gratitude for making this weekend be out of this world, not only for myself but for all who were there.

Bittersweet Women’s Weekend was refreshing and I hope this excitement continues forward. For where there are women, there is strength and unlimited desire. And when we come together in numbers, there is no telling what we can accomplish.