1. Take an all-women's adventure vacation
“I’ve guided both all women’s groups and mixed groups, and there really is a difference," says Marian Marbury, founder and guide at Adventures in Good Company, which leads all-female trips around the world. "Probably the most common advantage of an all-women’s group is the camaraderie, atmosphere of support, and personal sharing that happens. There is also a lot more laughter! And when the trip includes building specific skills, women are much more likely to try new things in a single-sex group.”
- Adventures in Good Company offers all-female trips in the U.S. and around the world. Trips range from a four-day wine and wildflower trip in Georgia ($825) to a two-week epic in Bhutan ($4000).
- Local guide companies, like California's Sierra Mountain Center, often offer women's-only trips. Check with what's near you to try something beyond your current skill level.
- There's one spot left on the first-ever women's only Big City Mountaineers Summit for Someone trip, which will climb Wyoming's Grand Teton in July. Register now to meet great women and raise money for a great cause.
2. Take a class.
Studies have shown again and again the benefits of a single-sex education. Why not apply that to the outdoors? Learn with and from other women how to be independent in the outdoors and succeed in what is commonly a male-dominated environment. Or just take a mixed-gender class in a topic you're interested in. Chance are, you'll meet a like-minded friend with whom to practice your new skills.
- Becoming An Outdoors-Women (BOW) offers hands-on, weekend-long workshops for women of all ages and fitness levels in 38 states and 6 Canadian provinces. Topics typically include hiking, archery, fly-fishing, horseback riding, and more.
- Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition (OIWC) provides professional development, education, and leadership programming that promotes women's advancement within the outdoor industry.
- Check with your local gear shop for topic-specific classes. For example, REI offers classes in many topics, including rock climbing, avalanche awareness, and backpacking.
3. Take a group hike
Harness the power of the internet to find groups you can join to hit the trail and make new friends. Here are a few places for women to connect with other like-minded women.
- Meetup.com can be a great way to find groups of like-minded people nearby. Enthusiastic and experienced individuals often lead these groups, but you won't know that until you meet them. Be sure your level of experience matches the group you go out with. Many official organizations, such as The Sierra Club, use Meetup to post their local outings.
- Outdoor Women's Alliance (OWA) is an all-volunteer organization that relies on Facebook groups to host outdoor activities for women (there's also news and events posted on its website). For now, it has local chapters in 5 areas.
- Women Outdoors: Founded in 1980 and still going strong, this organization is member-based and has active regional groups across the eastern United States (Arizona, Connecticut, South Florida, Eastern Massachusetts, Western Massachusetts, Mid-Atlantic, New Hampshire/Vermont, Finger Lakes Region of New York, Albany, NY, and Rhode Island/Southeast Massachusetts. Coming soon: Florida)
- Not seeing a group near you? Then take the initiative and start one or connect with organizations like these to establish a new region! You are probably not the only one looking to connect with like-minded women.
4. Share your skills.
Help create future generations of strong independent outdoor women by working with girls today. Share your passion and love of the outdoors as a mentor to young women.
- Help your local Girl Scouts by offering to share your experience with them.
- Girls Outdoors Resources offers a comprehensive national list of Outdoor and Experiential Education Programs for Adolescent Girls, providing a great place to look if you want to get involved.
Did we miss any great resources or programs? Let us know and we'll add them!