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Thursday, January 26, 2023

Women's Programming Helps Everyone Feel Confident to Explore the Outdoors – Argonaut

Women led trips and programming are a great opportunity to try something new
The UI Outdoor Center offers so many events, trips and programming that give students the opportunity to get out in nature and learn new skills. There’s a huge variety of activities and programming for students to choose from, be it rafting, hiking, biking, skiing, and so much more.
Amongst all the different opportunities, there are some programming events that are led by women and seek to give everyone the confidence to try new things and have an outdoor adventure. 
Knowing that an event or trip is led by women can lead more people to sign up and try something new, it can make students, especially women, feel more comfortable and confident to get outside, according to the leader of the project.  
“While our programs are open to everyone, having programming that is designed around female leadership and participation is a welcome invitation to join and explore something that is unfamiliar,” Outdoor Program Interim Director Sarah Townsend said. 
Anyone, regardless of gender, can attend any Outdoor Center programming or trips, however women’s programming is a perfect opportunity for women and non-men who would not feel confident enough otherwise to sign up and attend these programs. 
“We find that by having programming led by women, more women are likely to sign up,” Townsend said. 
For everyone who signs up for and attends Outdoor Center Programming activities, their goal is always the same, getting students into the outdoors and having fun with their peers. 
“Our goal is always to encourage folks to go outside, at whatever ability level they are,” Townsend said, “We want people to be able to feel comfortable enough to push their boundaries and learn some new skills and make a new friend or two.” 
Every semester there are several women’s programming events to choose from, and since these programs are some of the most popular at the Outdoor Center, they are always adding new activities. Just this semester, there were three Women’s programming events, including a Snowshoe trip, and intro to whitewater kayak clinic, and a river canyon backpack trip on the Wenaha River, Oregon.  
In addition to trips, the outdoor program also offers many women led on-campus activities, that allow students to try something new and get out of their comfort zones while staying close to home.   
“We have been running trips like this for years, and will continue to into the future,” Townsend said, “They are some of our most popular programs, which include women’s nights at the climbing center, women’s pool sessions up at the swimming pool for kayak practice, and women’s led backpacking.” 
 Similar events will continue to be planned for future semesters, and new exciting opportunities will be added, so make sure to keep an eye out for what fun Women’s Programming might be coming up. The trips and activities schedule can be found online, at the University of Idaho Outdoor Center Website. 
The staff are always willing to answer questions and help. Townsend explains, “It never hurts to come by the Outdoor Program office and just ask us to recommend programming or places to explore on your own. We are here for everyone!” 
Grace Giger can be reached at [email protected] 

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