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With Gratitude

Posted by on 5:29 pm in General | 0 comments

We are grateful for your support all year long, whether it’s reading our posts, attending our events, participating in the Outside INitiative or training for a vision not yet realized. Our success is a reflection of your caring, compassion and drive to support women and girls who want to live the dream. In addition, we are grateful for your financial investment over the years. It is critical as we support these opportunities for dreamers, big and small. There are several ways you can help us make a difference. We are happy to provide a King Soopers card to you. You may use this card to buy groceries and gas at designated stations. It’s easy and there is no cost to you. If you are interested, please send us a message and we’ll get a card (and instructions) to you. Also, if you shop on Amazon, please designate us as your nonprofit of choice when using Amazon Smile. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, you can make an old school contribution. Write us a check or visit our website to make a donation through Paypal. You’ll see the donation button on our home page. You know when you are managing a budget that every little bit matters. So do we, and we appreciate all that you do. Thank you! As this year draws to a close, we invite you to shut your eyes and dream...

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Wine for a Reason 2017 Thank You

Posted by on 8:45 pm in General | 0 comments

A big shout out to all of our attendees, donors, sponsors, and partners.  You made our event possible and successful.  We appreciate all of your support and generosity.  Thanks to you we will continue to create and fund rewarding experiences for women and girls. A special word of gratitude to Ashley Vaughters, sommelier, for guiding us through a tasting of wines made by immigrants.  We thank April Montoya-Collis for inspiring us with her courage and competitive drive as she works toward her goals in the sport of skeleton sledding.  We thank Ana Lara-Roca for facilitating an Outside INitiative exercise for all of us and for her ongoing commitment to the Outside IN program.  For donations of merchandise, we thank: Arc’teryx Ibex Denver Joy Wine and Spirits King Soopers Topo Designs Trader...

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Deon- A Testimonial

Posted by on 12:25 am in General | 0 comments

  Vulnerability seems to come in many different forms and iterations.  For some of us, it may be the challenge of spending a night in the woods with unfamiliar sounds and bugs. For others, it means extending ourselves beyond what has become comfortable to connect with the lives of others. When I met up with Deon Gillespie, the first question I asked her was “what did you get out of the Outside INitiative?”  Her immediate response was “the opportunity not to feel isolated.”  After probing a bit more, I learned that for Deon, the single mother of an adopted daughter, life had become an adventure into the unknown.   I also learned that spending a night in a yurt was the least of her challenges. Deon readily acknowledged the paradox of being such an outgoing person, and living in the isolation that can accompany the life of an adoptive parent.  In a voice that emanated strength, Deon shared that her life had left her little room to build community, although she remained steadfast in her belief that she would be able to meet new people who would embrace and share her world.  As with many single parents, she discovered that her sense of self had given way to an identity that was intertwined with that of her daughter.  Deon said she recognized the need to regain her sense of self, and as it happened, the partnership between the Outside INitiative and GALS (Girls Athletic Leadership School) provided that opportunity. According to Deon, GALS encourages transparency in a trusting environment, and Deon noted that her experience at the Outside INitiative provided similar encouragement.  Deon mentioned she looked forward to meeting other parents, all of whom were unknown to her at the time we gathered to head into the woods.  She felt hopeful about learning how other moms coped with careers and parenting, and how they found ways to honor themselves at the same time. The team building exercise that happened, as the group gathered, allowed “us to make connections before we even got in the car.”   It was the beginning of creating an experience and an environment that allowed “me to let go of stress and inhibitions”, said Deon.  In addition, “the socioeconomic, racial, ethnic and cultural diversity of the group encouraged the participants to share a unique opportunity, like African drumming, as a way to experience our differences.”  Deon said that the Outside INitiative also provided her with an opportunity to connect with others, as well as herself, and encouraged both her and her new community to honor differences, as well as the similarities. Nature encourages us to distill our lives into the present, and to look at the seeds that hold promise.  When I asked Deon to describe, in a word, which seed she hopes to plant for her future, she paused to think and said RECONNECT.  For Deon, reconnecting means letting go of what was keeping her from moving forward. Ashay. ...

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Melissa – A Testimonial

Posted by on 3:31 pm in General | 0 comments

  Mt.Rainier looms 14,410 feet above the Washington landscape located within its namesake Mt.Rainier National Park, just southeast of Seattle. As the most glaciated peak in the continental United States, as well as an active volcano, ascending Mt.Rainier is no small feat. It is considered one of the most challenging endurance climbs in the United States and a trek to the top of this mountain takes plenty of planning, dedication and determination. Melissa first saw Mt.Rainier off in the distance while on a plane flying into Seattle and knew it was a mountain she wanted to conquer, immediately adding it to her bucket list. Growing up climbing mountains in Colorado and in places like Mexico, Argentina and Bolivia through college and early adulthood, Melissa was plenty experienced. She knew however, that the conditions of Mt.Rainier would require both physical and mental strength beyond what she had faced in past climbs. Preparation for this trip began in January 2014, nearly seven months prior to the planned date of the trip. The safest way to travel on Mt.Rainier is in a group of three, so she recruited friends Stephanie and Natalie to begin cardio training and learning the survival skills required for a successful climb. As the date for the trip approached, Melissa faced a challenge: the need for proper footwear to make this ascent. Stephanie, Melissa’s climbing companion, had applied for funding from The Sporting Woman Community Fund to purchase mountaineering boots for a previous climb and suggested that Melissa do the same. Only three weeks before the trip, The Sporting Woman Community Fund made it possible for Melissa to acquire a pair of mountaineering boots that would provide the protection necessary when crossing the rocky terrain, snow and ice of Mt.Rainier. The day of the climb Melissa and her companions hiked to the base camp, located at a 5,000 ft. elevation, leaving them with a 9,000 ft. climb to the summit. Melting snow for water supply was among the first tasks at the base camp. Melissa described ‘snow kitchens’ as areas where snow was packed down much like a counter top with stoves available to melt the fresh snow nearby. Unlike other water sources in nature that require boiling before consumption, snow in its natural state is sterile and only needs to be melted for drinking. Snow can also be burned, so the person in charge of melting must keep a small amount of water in the bottom of the pot as a barrier in order to keep the snow from scorching. After pitching tents the group went to bed at 7 p.m. and awoke at 10 p.m. to begin their adventure. The safest time for climbing Mt.Rainier is throughout the night because the sun is down and the lower temperatures cause the atmospheric pressure to be at its lowest, reducing the chance for avalanches and snow movement across crevices as a result of a lack of solar radiation. As they climbed, the group faced 1,000 ft. gains per mile and soon discovered why Mt. Rainier is considered to be one of the most challenging climbs in existence. Melissa describes the physical pain that came with advancement up the mountain as nothing she had yet experienced in her past climbs. Facing extreme circumstances, Melissa credits her companions for being mentally tough and relentless as they fought...

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