April 15, 2009

What the Girls Experience: Emma's Story

I have shared with you my passion for the outdoors as well as my passion for volunteering and specifically why I volunteer with The Women's Wilderness Institute. With our annual Gear and Cheer fundraiser only a week away I thought you might like to hear from one of our younger participants. Emma attended a Wild Voices trip in 2008 and this is her story.

I knew my 6-day backpacking course to the Snowy Mountains with Women’s Wilderness was going to be great, but I had no idea that it would be such a life-changing experience. When I set off to Wyoming on that hot summer’s day in July with 10 girls that were practically strangers, I had no idea that we would all feel like sisters by the end of the trip.

Over the course of the trip, we all learned how to set up tents, cook food in the backcountry, and survive in the wilderness. One of the many thrilling aspects of the course was being able to decide as a group where we would sleep at night. That, as well as many other things, made me feel very free while I was on the trip.

Every night, we did a Bead Ceremony, when the girls and leaders would reflect on their day and add a bead to their bracelet. I remember that the leaders were so kind, understanding and helpful, and how it was so powerful to be in an all-girl group. We really understood each other, and we each experienced the thrill of the wilderness.

But of course, every good experience has a bad side to it. This experience came hand in hand with......bugs! By the end of the trip, I had at least 50 mosquito bites! But I tried to look past that and made the most of the course anyway. That was probably what Sally* was trying to do as well, but she was homesick and miserable for most of the trip. When a horse wandered into our camp on our last night, Sally’s attitude changed completely. She loves horses and feels a strong connection with the animals.

The horse incident was pure magic - I’m sure of it. Along with the beautiful views, thrilling night noises, crying for joy and sadness at the same time, and the feeling of peacefulness I had during the trip, Sally’s transformation was one of the moments that made the Wild Voices backpacking course unforgettable. Although I faced mental, physical and emotional challenges throughout the trip, I know that the course made me a stronger, better person. If every girl in America could go on a Women’s Wilderness trip, the world would be a much better place. I feel even more confident now that I have gone on the Wild Voices trip, and I know I will be successful in life, whatever I do. The spiritual aspect of the course, especially, was overwhelmingly powerful to me, and I know I will continue to see the girls and leaders I met on the trip for many decades. I can’t wait for my next course with Women’s Wilderness!

I hope those of you are in the Boulder/Denver area will come to Gear and Cheer on Thursday April 23, at Rembrandt Yard in Boulder and help support the programs that help make strong girls and strong women.

* Name changed


BoulderDiaries said...

Beautiful story, makes me proud to be volunteering at the event.

amyc said...

I love this. Thank you so much for sharing Emma's story (and to Emma for sharing it with all of us). Hearing and seeing strength and courage emerge from girls and women alike is an amazing and inspiring thing to witness.

dana said...

love your reflections, emma. i think cokie might like to go on a wilderness trip this year. keep writing. beijos, ms dana

icancarryallthebagsandthebabiestoo said...

This is really wonderful, T. I feel really proud of you and happy that you've found such a gorgeous and inspired way to spend your free time. It really does beat sitting around watching movies or True Hollywood Stories.

How can I contribute to this from the east coast. Can I donate gear or a gift certificate to a place to buy it?

Tali said...

Thank you everyone!

Anna, here's a link to the TWWI support page. It gives various ideas of how to support the organization http://tinyurl.com/d7vtbz I appreciate your generous heart.

Laura said...

Emma, Wow, what a beautiful writer you are! Reading your story made me happy. It was great to meet you last night (standing next to the elevator with your mom). hope you have a lifetime of equally amazing adventures.