by Michael J. Billoni
Nothing stops "Wild Women" once they get started.
Last weekend, more than 200 women converged on Byblos Niagara Resort & Spa and many Grand Island locations for the first Wild Women Unite weekend.
The quote of the day came from a senior-aged "Wild Woman," who said, "I am glad it rained because that made the day special. Had it been a sunny day, this day would have been fun, but easily written off as just another day of fun. However, the rainy weather today makes it ingrained in our memory as a day we conquered our fears and hesitations through huge obstacles and challenges of wind and rain. None of us will ever forget this Wild Women Unite weekend on Grand Island."
That is exactly what the self-proclaimed original "Wild Woman," Yvonne Folck, had in mind when she organized this weekend of activities for women from throughout Western New York and Canada. Since 2003, Folck, who resides on Grand Island with her husband, has been developing the largest network of women who play outdoors by providing a fun, safe place to get started.
"At age 58," she said, "I am fishing, hiking, biking and more. I have completed two half-marathons and I lived six years in a very remote community in Alaska, where I operated a fishing lodge. To this day, I still hold the lodge record for the largest king salmon ever caught there. Yes, I am a Wild Woman."
Horseback riding at Sparks Trading Post was one of the choices for the women and owner Peter Sparks said afterward, "I was so impressed with those great ladies. When it started to rain, I suggested we turn around and not one of the 40 ladies thought we should. I definitely want to be included in the next Wild Women Unite."
Debbie Billoni, chairman and chief financial officer of Billoni Associates on Grand Island, added, "I attended the gourmet campfire cooking class and I have some delicious recipes I can use forever. I recommend you check the website, The Chain of Defense. What a terrific weekend of unique events."