My wakeup call came on a beautiful fall day in Reno, Nevada in 2007. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was 4:30 in the afternoon when my daughter, who was 10 years old at the time, asked if she could go out and play with the neighbor kids. I needed to finish up the dishes but told her she could go out ahead of me and I would be out shortly. I was planning on sitting in a chair with a good book and letting her play for a bit. Unfortunately, I never made it outside. In the span of less than ten minutes two men sitting in a parked car attempted to abduct my precious daughter. Everything in my world changed in an instant, I was no longer the woman that I had been and I would never be the same again. Looking back, The Women’s Shooting Academy (WSA) was birthed the very next day.
I quickly realized I was entering into what was traditionally a man’s world….guns were not for girls, especially in this good ol boy town. I was embraced by some, not so much by others. What could I possibility know about how to teach women how to protect themselves and their loved ones with a firearm. I was determined to learn and determined to prove them all wrong.
The Women’s Shooting Academy started out offering one class, an introduction to handguns course taught by women for women. As of 2014 we now off er 8 firearm classes and 4 non-firearm class with more slated to roll out this year. I am also proud because several of our courses are now offered in a co-ed format. We love the WSA men!
It has been so much more than just becoming a firearms instructor. Ours has become being friend, mentor, educator, counselor, encourager, listener, or sometimes just a shoulder to cry on. Our student base is made up of all ages, we have trained them as young as 10 years old and as old as 90. We have had the privilege to train thousands; and it’s a great joy have done so. I look forward to thousands more. Another huge blessing is that most of my certified team of instructors were once WSA students.
Our students send us letters, emails, phone calls and testimonials frequently sharing their heartfelt emotion and gratitude, thanking us for giving them back something that was lost or taken from them. I do not need any pats on the back folks because in the end it is I who have been blessed. It is I who is receiving inspiration and transformation. WSA gives me power to strive to be better and somehow find a way to pass that on.
I would be nothing without the love and grace of my creator. I will do this until I am told otherwise!
Street savvy business woman, adorable goofball, firearm fashionista and a little bit of mama bear; add a fiery passion for empowering women and you get Vicki Kawelmacher. Vicki can oft en be heard saying, “What you see is what you get.” She wears her heart on her sleeve and her head on her shoulders. She’ll tell you like it is and instinctively you know it’s only to make you better.
Her ultimate drive in life is teaching women the gift of self preservation. Her engaging personality and incredible enthusiasm spark a visible change in her students that’s hard to miss. Young, old, big, small, confident and afraid–these are the women Vicki works with every day at the Women’s Shooting Academy and the Women’s Safety Academy. Every day she awakens in them the strength, power and courage they never believed they had, and she does it all with a compassionate heart and a booming voice.
Vicki’s dreams for the WSA will never finish. She always has an eye on the horizon searching for bigger and better ways to help as many women as she can find their warrior within. Above all, Vicki values family, freedom and safety and believes you should, too.