A dreadful childhood memory is sitting in a classroom while the beautiful weather showing off outside the window was calling my name. Now don't think I'm against a solid education — it's just that when the springtime warmth and stirring breezes pulled on something in my soul, I felt as if the only way to answer the call was to grab a rod and reel, backpack, and tent, and hit trail.
So now, as an adult and public speaker, I keep this in mind when planning a presentation about the great outdoors. Fortunately for me, the outdoors subject is extremely entertaining itself and those who attend an outdoor seminar or class, are eager to learn more about the targeted subject or at least discuss it with others who share the same passions. But even still, sitting in a group, listening to a guy jabber on and holding up gear items used as props, may not be your preferred way to spend a portion of your free time. Although, from my experiences of attending outdoor seminars, I always come away with a few new ideas and an interjection of enthusiasm. Seminars are a worthy adventure in their own rite, when you open your mind and interact with your fellow attendees and presenter.
Hiking or backpacking seminars (Bass Pro Shops offers them regularly at its retail stores) cover the basics and then some. Fine tuning pack packing techniques, gear selection, gear use, emergency situation actions and trail selection are several topics highlighted. It seems as if packing a backpack or daypack is a fairly simple task, but as gear items change in design and new gear items are created, so does packing procedures. Every couple years, my daypack gets rearranged to some degree because of an item or two added or removed from the list. Seminar presenters are usually avid participants of the sport they cover. Which means that he or she has dealt with the same things you have on the trail, and for beginners, they offer a stream of advice to ensure you hit the trail with the best set-up for a great, safe hike.
As it were those years ago in the classroom, if you have a question, don't hesitate to raise your hand and ask it. No time for bashfulness, and actually, an unasked question could lead to serious trouble or an uncomfortable situation during your trip that could easily had been avoided.
An outdoor seminar is about sharing information and stories of experiences, not only for the attendees but also for the presenter. Conversations break out occasionally during seminars, between several attendees and the presenter, and that is always welcome. Bad things happen to those in the wild that believe they know everything there is to know about their sport. Overconfidence is a negative attitude on the trail, but so is going with nearly no information. There is a ton of outdoor sports information here on 1Source, but add a bit of in-person instruction to your mental database to increase your knowledge. Give an outdoor seminar a try — it's nearly as fun as being out there.
For upcoming store seminars, visit the Bass Pro Store page.