It’s hard to believe we have just surpassed the one-year anniversary of the launch of NRAWomen.com. Had someone told us we’d be operating under virtual lockdown conditions the entirety of our inaugural year, we would have dismissed such hogwash. Nonetheless, it happened, and conditions notwithstanding—limited resources, few travel opportunities and the absence of trade shows—we remained steadfastly committed to sharing content that would inform, educate and entertain, while advancing the mission of the NRA.
As 2020 progressed, the pandemic hovered as a backdrop to growing civil unrest in many U.S. cities. Gun buying across the country soared, particularly among first-time gun owners. Our focus immediately shifted to a demographic of nervous law-abiding citizens—women who contemplated whether they could count on timely law enforcement response should a situation call for it in their own neighborhoods and homes. We emphasized the need for training and understanding Second Amendment rights, and offered smart choices for first firearms. We also tried to provide relief from the stressful world situation by tempering some serious content with just the right degree of humor.
The conditions of 2020 also caused us to miss most face-to-face meetings, time on the range and in the field that would have marked a "normal" year. Nonetheless we are proud that in spite of our challenges, we were able to post more than 800 articles and videos on our various 2A- and outdoor-themed content. This wouldn’t have been possible without the commitment of our small staff—Executive Editor Wendy LaFever, an NRA Publications veteran who has provided a lengthy body of insightful, thoughtful and often humorous work, all the while also managing content on NRAFamily.org; and Assistant Editor Ashley Thess, who started her job on March 16 and was in the office only one day before our offices closed. Ashley will likely look back on this first year as a crash course in firearms, the firearm industry and the politics of guns. To her credit, Ashley dived right in to providing compelling content, offering a unique newcomer’s perspective that balances the established knowledge of longtime—sometimes stubborn—editors. She is also a seasoned camper and avid hiker, thus, like many of you, has found ways to escape the confines of the pandemic in the great outdoors, bringing some of that you in the form of feature stories.
Another group of women also remained undeterred by the force majeure of 2020—the NRA Women's Leadership Forum, a tireless corps of women who exemplify hard work and strength, whose goal is Second Amendment advocacy and philanthropy, while also growing the women NRA membership numbers. They even managed to pull off their mid-year WLF Summit on Maryland's Eastern Shore in October! These are the same unstoppable women who started, grew and fostered the NRA Women brand many years ago, and last year entrusted us with a new website as a means of reaching all NRA Women. I have seen these women at work and am in awe of their dedication, positive attitude and commitment to our cause as they welcome a rapidly growing sisterhood of supporters. Did you know you can be one of them, too? You can start by attending the 15th Annual WLF Luncheon & Auction, which will take place during NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Houston this September. In my opinion, it is THE event of the show. You will be inspired, moved and motivated by what you see and hear from the outstanding speakers this event attracts—and you won't be able to resist the hundreds of fun items and unique experiences up for auction. Most importantly, you will be welcomed by a community of likeminded women who staunchly defend and preserve the Second Amendment. Hunters, shooters, casual plinkers or those who simply want to preserve their basic right to defend themselves and their families should all join and support this group. The luncheon is one of the first events to sell out, so keep your eyes open on this site for a ticket sales announcement. Right now, please "Save the Date": Sept. 3, 2021.
We also wouldn’t have been where we are without are amazing corps of regular content contributors, experts in the field who are able to communicate their craft and skills equally well on paper and video. Without them, Wendy, Ashley and I would be working round the clock and likely be sporting straitjackets. Our sponsors, too—Smith & Wesson, Winchester and CrossBreed Holsters—gave us reason to believe our work was important. We are forever grateful for their continued support.
In October I was fortunate to be able to venture out into the real world, excited to join my SIREN sisters at Gunsite Academy to test the new Mossberg MC2c pistol while engaging in “team tactics” role-playing exercises that tested our reaction to real-life scenarios that could potentially call for us to draw our firearms in self-defense. And thanks to our sponsor Winchester, I harvested a buck in November in west Texas, a spectacular region for mature whitetails while testing out the recently introduced 350 Legend cartridge, as well as a new riflescope from Leupold. I also discovered my new favorite camo pattern, made by True Timber. More on these fabulous adventures in upcoming blogs.
Speaking of blogs, we hope to now offer more personal content in blog form—starting with this one. "Annecdotes"—intentionally misspelled, accommodates my name while appropriately defining my blog. Sometimes you just want to say, “Thanks!” or talk about an event—an anecdote—or share ideas that don’t warrant full feature-length articles. Thus when appropriate, Wendy, Ashley and I will be offering occasional blogs that feature personal short stories (you can read Wendy's first "Short Shots" entry here), or announcing a new product or other pertinent information relevant to our 2A goals.
With this, the first, I want to personally thank all of the NRA Women who have logged on, shared our content and helped make our first year a tremendous success.
Cheers to a great second year ahead!