FOWA: A place for Florida outdoor communicators.
Earlier this year I spent some time in Berlin, Germany. One morning I joined Thomas Dornbusch, a professional dog walker, for a walk through Grunewald Forest with 15 canines, 14 were his four-legged clients. This was an Airbnb Experience where locals of an area share their profession and/or passion with visitors so they have an authentic experience.
As a dog-parent, I found this outing fascinating. During the three hours, I observed and learned about the dynamics of a dog pack and how canines interact with each other and humans. Each hound knew their place in the pack and how to act when approaching another dog pack. I noticed two dogs always seemed to be distant from the others and they were always at the back of the pack. A bit of me felt sorry for them and I asked Thomas if they were loners or outcasts.
He explained while an alpha dog leads the pack and most stay in the middle, those two dogs had the duty of protecting the pack from any threats that may come from behind. They were not loners and served a very important role in the group.
How Am I Like Those Dogs?
As I thought about what to share this week, I kept thinking about those dogs at the back of the pack and how I am very much like them. I am a loner, maybe a little bit of a rebel (Pee Wee Herman fans will understand that), and fiercely defend what I believe. But, I am also an ambivert, the combination of an introvert and extrovert. Typically, I avoid participating in groups, associations, or clubs mainly because I find them mentally, physically, and financially draining. There’s a lot of socializing, grip and grins (which is trying on the introvert-side of me), and late nights. There are membership fees, fundraisers, and donation of time to help the cause.
Nearing 50 years old, I have accepted my batteries are draining and I am evaluating what I want the rest of my life to be. At this point, I am not looking for resume builders but looking to surrounding myself with quality people and enriching opportunities and I found it about a decade ago. It is the Florida Outdoor Writers Association (FOWA).
After picking up and reading my first Little House on the Prairie book by Laura Ingalls Wilder when I was 7 years old, and soon after picking up a camera, I knew I wanted to be a journalist. I also grew up playing in the family woods, reading Ranger Rick, and dreaming of living and working in the outdoors. As an adult, my goal is to have a career combining all of that and thanks to my membership with FOWA, I am a bit closer in achieving that. You’re never too old to achieve your dreams, right?
FOWA: A Place for Florida Outdoor Communicators
The Florida Outdoor Writers Association is a not-for-profit statewide paid professional communicators organization made up of the outdoor industry’s top communicators, conservationists, and industry related companies with a mission to heighten the education of the outdoors. It is a place for those who write/record/produce content about the outdoors, including print or digital content, newspaper and magazine articles, blogs, videos, radio or podcasts, photography, or forms of art related to the outdoors, can expand their craft through attending an annual conference, reading and contributing to bi-monthly newsletters, and connecting with other FOWA members throughout the year.
It is an opportunity to learn where to find the stories about the outdoors that readers are interested in, how to be a better content creator, how to and where to sell your content, and to be surrounded by a strong network of like-minded people.When I moved back to Southwest Florida more than a decade ago, my job meant I became of a member of the FOWA. It also meant I was in charge of coordinating the 2008 FOWA Annual Conference in Charlotte County, which was secured by my predecessor and I had big shoes to fill. As my writing and content creation has expanded over the years, I now hold dual membership, one as an industry related company with a Corporate/Tourism membership, and the other as a content producer with an Active membership.
FOWA has become my family and has enriched my personal and professional growth. Recently, the membership elected me First-Vice/President Elect of the organization and I am humbled with their confidence and am thrilled with the opportunities ahead. This organization is important enough to keep in my life not only to help me achieve my content creation goals but to assist established and aspiring outdoor communicators with their goals. Does that sound like you? Or, do you own a business or have a product that outdoor communicators should share with their readers (fishing, hunting, paddling, etc)? If so, I would be honored if you considered being part of this talented group of Florida outdoor communicators. Learn more about FOWA at www.fowa.org or reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.