Training and Experience: 75 Women Shoot at the 8th Annual ‘The Mingle’

The Mingle Openness to Experience
Michelle Cerino for SNW

This past weekend, I attended The Mingle: Openness to Experience in North Georgia, an annual event (the eighth) hosted by The Complete Combatant. This is an invite-only, two-day event for women in the firearms industry filled with training, delicious food and invaluable networking (aka mingling). 

Complete Combatant the mingle
Courtesy The Complete Combatant

First, a little information about Shelley Hill, the mastermind behind The Mingle, for those who don’t know her. I’ve had the privilege of knowing her as an acquaintance in the industry for a few years. However, during the past year, we’ve become more than that, which has meant the world to me.

This ball of fire (with hair to match) juggles numerous roles in a range of different businesses. If you want to know more about what she’s involved in, aside from her freelance writing, check out some of these links: 

The Complete Combatant

Blue Line Ponies

LockedIn Grip

Image Based Decisional Drills

Smart Choices

Shelley stresses right from the start that everyone attending should be open to the experience. They should arrive with an open mind and pick up at least a few (if not more) nuggets from each instructor (or, as most people in this world refer to them, “coaches”). More to come on my “nuggets” later. 

All attendees rotate through three training blocks over The Mingle’s two training days. This year’s blocks included:

HK was there with pistols and ammo to experience various HK pistols and there were Holosun dots with Howie Marbury of HM Training and Consulting along with Shannon Pable of Shannon Pable Garden and Gun.

Attendees could rent an HK pistol with a Holosun optic to shoot throughout the event. I decided that would be a fantastic opportunity to try new gear by experiencing red dot shooting and spending some time behind an HK. Let me say, the gear didn’t disappoint. Again, more on that to come. 

The Mingle Openness to Experience
Michelle Cerino for SNW

As I mentioned above, Shelley stresses that all attendees (75 with a mixture of 24 Team Mingle volunteers, AIs, RSOs and instructors) arrive with an openness to experience and be ready to mingle. And that we did.

The Mingle Openness to Experience
Michelle Cerino for SNW

Before we met on the first day, bonding began through a private Facebook page where a group of ladies I had never met offered me a place to stay. Some other group discussions included an attendee offering rides from the Atlanta airport (bless her heart), some women bringing gluten-free food to share and even peer support for what mascara to wear on the range. 

The Mingle Openness to Experience
Michelle Cerino for SNW

Once there, the mingling commenced full-force. From the groups in which we rotated through our training blocks to the time spent eating some delectable sandwich wraps and barbeque, we mingled, mingled, and then mingled some more. Attendees exchanged business cards and phone numbers, took photos with new friends and shared stories. 

The Mingle Openness to Experience
Michelle Cerino for SNW

Sponsors contributed to the giveaway bags, door prizes and more. They also play a huge part in helping all the ladies attend The Mingle. Costs that would normally be added to the tuition are covered through the generous donations of sponsors.

Shelley also has the Hamilton Scholarship in honor of her dear friend Joan (Corky) Hamilton. I am excited to say this year’s recipient was a friend of mine who experienced a whole new world by attending The Mingle. 

The Mingle Openness to Experience
Michelle Cerino for SNW

One last thing as I am writing this. Shelley Hill put out a request for donations to her Blue Line Ponies charity. This retirement range rescues service horses by offering them a home (there are three currently available) where they will receive the best care throughout their retirement. Through matching donations, percentages of products purchased and money just stuffed in Shelley’s pockets from numerous people, The Mingle raised $7,935 for Blue Line Ponies.

The Mingle Openness to Experience
Courtesy The Mingle

15 Responses

  1. Thank you for writing this article. The Mingle is such a wonderful event. It was a pleasure to meet you, Michelle!

    1. Thank you! I’m so glad I finally had the opportunity to attend. It was a fantastic event.

  2. So good to meet you Michelle! And congrats on your win!! I look forward to seeing you next year if not before!

    1. Thank you! I am still extremely excited and proud of my trophy. It REALLY meant a lot.

  3. Great article Michelle! Thanks for your support in the firearm industry coaching women. Your description of The Mingle was spot on. After your praise, Shelley may have to have Mingle 1 and then More Mingle each year.

  4. It was awesome to meet you, Michelle! It was my first Mingle, too. And it won’t be my last!

  5. Excellent article!! So glad to have seen and shot with you. You are inspiration! Keep being you!!

  6. Wonderful article. So glad to have been invited to attend this event. It was great and I’m glad to have meet so many wonderful ladies. Thank you for the article and being a part of this experience.

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