HOW IT ALL STARTED:
What happens when Sisterhood Outdoors gets invited to participate in a fashion show in Washington DC called Dress to Kilt? At first, we thought the idea was crazy. Then we realized the program was to benefit the Navy Seal Foundation. We could not say no to that. As uncomfortable as we were to participate, we knew it was for a great cause.
Dressed to Kilt is a fashion show founded by the late Sir Sean Connery and Sir Geoffrey Carrol. A premier fashion event that promotes Scottish Fashion and honors the military. The theme of this year’s show was “Country Cool-Fashion Outdoors”. This year’s show was a celebration of life, diversity, and the human spirit. The beneficiary of this year’s show was the Navy SEAL Foundation. It was also a year of remembrance of Queen Elizabeth II and Sir Sean Connery. We were honored to be a part of this year’s program.
MEETING SISTERS OF SERVICE:
Immediately upon arrival we knew we had made the right decision. We found our “WHY” by stepping out of our comfort zone. The show this year was about strong women. We walked the runway with Sisters of Service. Sisters of Service is an organization dedicated to supporting the women of the Afghan Female Tactical Platoon. A Sisterhood of American female veterans helping to resettle and empower the Afghan women who fought by their side. Because of their military service, and especially because they were women, their lives were in extreme jeopardy even before the fall of Kabul. As high priority targets for the Taliban, these women faced appalling hardship as they struggled to leave the country. Thankfully, they were able to make it to the US.
Sisters of Service has helped over 42 women and their families resettle. Now they work tirelessly to support these women. How could we say no to walking alongside these incredible women and the US female veterans supporting them. Meeting this team of women was our WHY.
AT THE SHOW:
We walked the runway wearing our Krytpek Skyfall Line. We were astounded at the response by the crowd. Backstage we had time to get to know the women of Sisters of Service. We discovered we all share one thing in common, a love of shooting sports. The Afghan Female Tactical Platoon (FTP) trained alongside our US command in Afghanistan. They quickly let us know these ladies are true marksman. Rebekah Edmondson, a US vet who tirelessly works to support the Afghan women in their bid for freedom and a normal life as refugees has a passion for helping others. Her support of these women was apparent. Quickly we became friends on a mission.
After the show, we met for photos. We took our tactical Sisterhood Outdoors patches off our jackets and gave them to the Afghan women. They in return gave us a poster of the FTP-Female Tactical Platoon. Before the evening was over, we asked them if they would like to have an event of fellowship and shooting time with us. Rebekah looked at me with tears welling up in her eyes. This was not the normal response I get from asking friends to join me at the range. Typically, we are met with cheers when planning range days together. These tears showed us just how meaningful our invitation was to the group. Insert a large dose of gratitude here! Being caught off guard at the magnitude of the impact a simple day at the range would have, gave us pause.
Later that evening, we went to our hotel rooms and quietly discussed how grateful we are to live in America. Being Women in the outdoors with the freedom to do what we love. We never want to take it for granted that we have the freedom to own firearms and head to the range for target practice any time we want.
Yet meeting these women also puts our life in perspective. How blessed are we that we can shoot for fun, or hunt to feed our family. Without Miliary training, we have no point of reference for learning to be a skilled marksman to fight for the freedom of our country or ourselves. When we shoot and call success a six-inch group, they shoot on a dime sized group. Their level of training and desire to be perfect may far surpass our abilities. They spoke of how they longed to be together again, in uniform and training. They miss the camaraderie they once shared as sisters in arms. Now they must rebuild a sense of community in an unfamiliar country. A community is something we can help with.
After hearing the stories of their training, we had to come up with a way to share the range with these women. Creating opportunities for women to hunt, shoot and fish is what we do. This Memorial Day Weekend, Sisterhood Outdoors along with our outfitter partner Woods N Water Services will be hosting a Sisterhood of Service culture exchange weekend. We have a mission to give it away to keep it, and we can’t think of a better way to do that than by supporting these deserving women and welcoming them into our community.
Naturally, we believe in the mission, and we are planning a weekend of fellowship, range time and cultural exchange. Our team will be cooking a wild game supper for the Afghan ladies and they in turn will be cooking a traditional Afghan meal. We plan to let them experience a fun day of shooting at the range. Something they enjoy. In the end, we asked them what they missed most, the answer was wearing a uniform, being with the FTP team and training at the range together. Recreating as much of that as we can for them is the goal.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT:
These women recently lost everything in the wake of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. They proudly served in a US-partner military unit, something they miss every single day. Many of them hope to serve in the US military when they receive green cards. The process has been ongoing for nearly two years now. What they miss most are the normal things we may take for granted, friends, family and jobs. All of them are starting over from zero. They are searching for direction and purpose while their citizenship is in limbo. Some feel a loss of hope and lack of a sense of community. This is our WHY, we hope to share some quality time together in the outdoors. We want to give them a sense of pride and help them feel seen and heard. Most importantly we want them to feel their service to our country does not go unrecognized. We look forward to sharing the range with these incredible women and most of all we look forward to welcoming them to Sisterhood Outdoors.
To learn more about Sisters of Service or Donate to support them visit www.sistersofservice.org
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