GO! Girls Outdoors

A resource for women in Outdoor Education and Recreation

Search Girls Outdoors

Latest Resources


Gear Resources
Gear manufacturers have realised that lots of women like the outdoors and they're different shapes from men. Here's what's out there, and where you can buy it.

Read more»


Travel Resources
A selection of travel resources especially for women who love to travel. Includes a list of online communities if you do it yourself, or companies if you need a little help.

Read more»


Surfing Resources
Listed here are some links to resources from all over the world that cater to women who love surfing.

Read more»


Hiking Resources
Extended walks are great for the mind and spirit and lots of women love to take part in them. Check out these resources and get inspired to go on a walking adventure.

Read more»

Snow Sports

Snow Sports Resources
Skiing, snowboarding, backcountry, polar expeditions - all done in the snow and all done by lots of amazing women.  Check out these resources to find out more...

Read more»


Kayaking Resources
White water, surfing, sea kayaking, sprint racing, marathon racing, multisport, fishing...is there anything you can't do from a kayak? Explore these resources!

Read more»


Cycling Resources
A list of resources for all sorts of cycling - mountain biking, road biking, touring, racing, recreation and commuting - all specific to women.

Read more»


Climbing Resources
Women can (and have) achieved incredible things in climbing. Listed in this section are a collection of climbing and moutaineering resources that are useful and inspiring for all climbers.

Read more»


A list of organisations that cater exclusively to women, or run trips exclusively for women. A great way to find a women-specific adventure in your area.

Read more»

Outdoor Industry

Outdoor Industry Resources
Looking for resources to help you plan programs, companies and organisations that cater for women or organisations you can join? Look no further...

Read more»


GirlVentures 1Adolescent girls are only interested in boys, clothes, boys, make up, Facebook, mobile phones and boys, right?  All they want to do is hang out and gossip, right?  They all hate activity and exercise unless it’s to fit into a new pair of jeans, right?

Wrong, actually! Girls like outdoor adventure just as much as boys, and they can gain great benefits from girls only programs - which is where organisations like GirlVentures come in.

 GirlVentures group

GirlVentures is a non profit organisation based in San Francisco, California, that runs outdoor activity and adventure programs especially and exclusively for girls.  The GirlVentures clientele are all adolescent girls, ranging in age from 6th graders to 12th graders, but mostly girls from grade 6 to 9.  The mission of GirlVentures is to empower girls to develop and express their strengths as they negotiate the transition from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. 

GirlVentures Mt Shinn.jpgPriscilla McKenney joined GirlVentures in 2002 as a Program Director and she met with me in San Francisco to talk about the what, why and how of the organisation.  Priscilla has an incredibly wide range of experience in the outdoor industry, a lot of which has involved working with girls and women.  She has an M.A. in Experiential Education which she earned by doing a program evaluation of a girls outdoor adventure program, and she has co-authored a couple of articles on the subject.  So, Priscilla was a very well qualified person to talk about GirlVentures.  In fact, even though I met with her to discuss GirlVentures, Priscilla was so inspiring that she also has her own profile here!

 GirlVentures girls group

The organisation was started up in 1997 as Bay Area Girls centre, and was originally part of a thesis for the Masters in Education program at Harvard.  The organisation has changed its name and the founders have now moved on, but GirlVentures is still going strong under the leadership and direction of a wide range of dedicated and hardworking women.  Since they started GirlVentures has impacted over 3000 girls - which is a lot when you consider the amount of hours that goes into each girl!

GirlVentures have developed a number of programs that provide their girls with a wide range of opportunities.  During the school year they run weekend or after school programs that focus on activities such as rock climbing, self defence, yoga and urban trekking.  In summer they run outdoor adventure programs, two week journeys that focus on activities such as backpacking, rock climbing, sea kayaking and creative expression. 

Girl Climbing GirlVenturesOne of the most unique and interesting things about GirlVentures is their commitment to bringing together girls from diverse ethnic, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.  On every GirlVentures course there is a third full-fee paying girls, a third partial scholarship girls and a third full scholarship girls.  This allows the girls to come together and see what makes each of them unique, and to learn about appreciate the differences in others.


Another interesting GirlVentures initiative is the Leadership Development Program, which give the older girls meaningful leadership experiences such as Assistant Instructor positions on programs for younger girls and a say in the growth of the organisation as members of the Girls Advisory Board.  Priscilla says that the Assistant Instructor program gives the older girls a chance to have a real impact on the younger girls.  Because the older girls are helping out on a program, this provides the older girls with a fantastic leadership experience, gives them skills they need to work in the outdoor industry and provides them with the opportunity to be a role model for younger girls.  Priscilla says that providing the younger girls with a role model who is closer to their own age has worked very well - it’s like the girls on the programs can easily see where they can be in a few years if they want to.  It also encourages young women who are thinking about joining the industry, and helps GirlVentures breed up new instructors for their programs!

tn_140.JPGSo why all girls?  There is a growing number of girls only programs in the US, and this has been the focus of Priscilla’s research.  Girls benefit from a single gender environment because the lack of boys helps to break down gender stereotypes (which are even stronger in adolescence), fosters a freedom to explore their abilities without intimidation or self-consciousness and encourages girls to become players rather than spectators.  Girls themselves have reported that having all-girls groups increases participation rates and communication and creates a learning environment where the girls can explore new skills, build relationships and take risks.

 GirlVentures bus

GirlVentures plays an important role in the lives of many young girls, encouraging them to fulfil their own potential, embrace diversity in others, develop technical skills in outdoor activities and learn about teamwork and leadership.  GirlVentures encourages girls to grow into resourceful, confident and competent young women - make sure to look out for them in the future!

For more information about GirlVentures, go to their website here.  To read about their amazing Program Director, Priscilla, go here.

Have you visited the Outdoor Industry Resources page on GO! Girls Outdoors?  Click on the name above to do so.

If you like (or dislike) what you've read and want to talk about it, why not go to the forum and start a discussion?

GO! Girls Outdoors

Copyright © 2009 Marjorie Morgan. All rights reserved.

Site design and build by Nick McIntosh

MT 4.3-en