The VF Foundation Partner, Women’s Wilderness, Empowers Girls Through Outdoor Experiences
In recognition of the challenges faced by young immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers, The VF Foundation donated $23,000 over the last year to Outdoor GIRLS (Girl Immigrant and Refugee Leadership Series), a program aimed at engaging these girls in outdoor recreation and leadership development. The program is the brainchild of Women’s Wilderness, a 24-year-old Colorado nonprofit with a mission to help girls, women and LGBTQ+ people access their power and improve their health through connections to the outdoors and community.
The mission of Outdoor GIRLS complements the goals of The VF Foundation and the values of VF. “Together, we are helping create a more welcoming outdoors grounded in equity and inclusion while also fostering a growth mindset in the next generation of environmental stewards,” said Gloria Schoch, Executive Director, The VF Foundation.
As part of Outdoor GIRLS’ year-round curriculum, participants have access to organized outdoor experiences like rock climbing, nature immersion and leadership-building sessions in the communities where they live. Many of the young leaders in the program are also from these same communities, helping serve as interpreters and family liaisons in exchange for workplace experience and a stipend.
Grants and donations are critical for Outdoor GIRLS to supply participants with gear, transportation, food, instructors and insurance, and enable this experience to be free for all participants who might not otherwise have an opportunity to participation in these transformative outdoor experiences.
“The grant from The VF Foundation enabled us to provide this powerful program free of cost to 57 girls and their families on a weekly basis over the past year,” said Sarah Murray, Executive Director of Women’s Wilderness. “This has literally meant giving girls equipment and apparel, training instructors in trauma-informed instruction and supporting the leadership development of young women from the community.”