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Tales of Connection and Community


DSC_0101In the words of the women who have participated in the Outside INitiative:

“As a result of this program, I feel I can cry once in awhile and make more time for myself.  It also reminded me of how far I have gotten from the negativity of my past.  I didn’t expect to make friends and I want to keep in touch.  Things we did were self-honoring, which I did not know how to do.”

“I learned I can be still and pause in my everyday life.  I also learned I can use nature in an urban setting to face challenges, make a plan and take the world by storm.  I realized I can make changes in my life and let go of some fears.  The information I can use in my life is to breathe, to be mindful and to meditate.”

“I found a sense of peace.”

“Eat healthier.”

“…have a new acceptance and awareness of the needs of others.”

“I have a better understanding of how nature can help reduce stress and live a better life.  And, I can go hiking in the mountains and not be too afraid. It’s ok to try new things.”

“I cried, leaving fears and expectations, realizing I am doing what I am supposed to be doing.  Quit questioning, quit doubting.”

“The gift of this program immensely affected my life in a positive way.  The time away from everyday duties and instead focusing and centering on ourselves and nature brought a strong connection between women who were strangers but went away a community.  We learned that even though we come from different backgrounds, we all share the same feeling about ourselves as mothers, daughters, sisters and friends. Through that bond, we grew and continue to grow in our our belief in ourselves.”


DSC_0066In the words of our volunteers:

” I had the opportunity to volunteer for two Outside INitiative trips.  The impact on the participants was immediately apparent, and it felt like being part of a family in a matter of two days. Facilitating a change of scenery for women who might not otherwise have had access was tremendous on its own, and that change of scenery was augmented with a thoughtfully  facilitated group and shared meals and stories. The Outside INitiative….provides a truly supportive, nonjudgmental environment for women to explore their passions and their priorities, to make connections, to share stories and difficulties, and to see themselves in a new, positive light.”

“The Sporting Woman Community Fund came into my life as I was seeking a creative and powerful way to broaden my experience as a therapist. I have had the opportunity to facilitate and participate in two Outside INitiative groups, which are designed to realize the potential that lives within using nature as a resource.  Sitting around a campfire “burning the old to make room for the new” and playing drums is one of my fondest memories.  As I reflect on these trips, I can’t help but think there are many other therapists and women seeking a similar opportunity and hoping for an organization like this to cross their path and take them to a new level of self-awareness through the power of nature and community.”