Dear Women's Wilderness Community,
It is with so much excitement that I write this first letter as the new Executive Director of Women's Wilderness!
I've been involved with Women's Wilderness since 2013, and have worked as a wilderness instructor since 2003. The past 12 years of working outside have constantly given me opportunities to grow beyond my ideas of what I can and cannot do. There was a time when I thought I would never master the technical skills involved in rock climbing. Now I am strong enough in these skills that I regularly mentor and teach new climbers. There was a time when I did not think I was a competent enough instructor to work for the National Outdoor Leadership School, a leader in outdoor education. I've now led a number of courses for them, including a summer-long college semester.
Time and again, I have found that what I am actually capable of is far greater than what I believe I can do on first glance.
(I'm reminding myself of this right now, as I face the awesome and intimidating task of composing my first letter to a community I deeply respect!)
I firmly believe that I owe these accomplishments to my own pluck and determination, but that mostly I owe these accomplishments to the environments in which I was raised and the people I have surrounded myself with. I went to an all-girls school for the length of my elementary and middle school education, where I regularly had teachers and female role models ask my opinion, encourage me to try new things, and provide support when I needed a helping hand. As an adult, the turning point in my climbing career occurred when I watched another woman take a leadership role and I could see myself in her shoes.
At Women's Wilderness, we provide the exact kind of environment and people that help girls and women grow and thrive. The environment is the great outdoors, where we offer girls and women authentic, real-life challenges - like climbing a rock face or finding their voice while being leader-of-the-day on a hike. And we provide the right people to facilitate these experiences - women that serve as role-models, who offer help in appropriate, empowering, thoughtful ways.
We help girls and women discover that what they are actually capable of is far greater than what they ever believed possible.
This is the gift I have been given throughout my lifetime, the gift that is helping me write this letter right this second. I feel truly honored to offer this gift back to our community via this work. Women's Wilderness has a phenomenal 17-year long history. We're now offering new programs, a new webpage (coming soon!), a new logo: we're forging a way ahead for another 17 phenomenal years. I am dedicated to leading Women's Wilderness in such a way that opportunities for growth and discovery continue to unfold for women and girls.
What gifts have you received in your life so far, and how would you like to pass them on? Reach out to me and let me know how you'd like to get involved! I'd love to hear from you. Reach me at Emily@womenswilderness.org. Join us on our journey!
Emily Isaacs, Executive Director
Strong Girls. Strong Women. Better World.