Written by Lauren Hugo: Regional Coordinator for WY and Teton Valley
The Ladies of the Tetons made history on September 23 for our first ever Wild Skills camp for girls in Jackson. Mother Nature sent winter our way early this year and even a week of snow, sleet, slush, and wind couldn’t stop the astounding population of Girraficorns from showing up! Despite the week of fickle weather and last minute plan changes, the stoke was high and 77 girls, ages 6-12, and nearly 40 volunteers came together for a day of learning, laughing, dancing, and playing together with the goal of gaining the basic outdoor skills necessary to adventure in the mountains. We’re proud to say that this turnout may be a record for Wild Skills!
SheJumps volunteers got up with the sun and worked hard to get the Dancers’ Workshop at the Center for the Arts prepped for a day of teaching and learning. Fueled by coffee generously donated from Snake River Roasting Co. and bagels and cream cheese from Pearl St. Bagels, the volunteers welcomed the little ladies at 9am and quickly got them decked out in Girraficorn paraphernalia and introduced them to their new friends and adventure sisters for the day.
After an invigorating warm up session of yoga, snow dances, and team pyramids, the girls joined their teams (grouped by ages) and set off on a Wild Skills expedition. Each group rotated through the various stations designed to introduce them to the technical and survival skills necessary for outdoor adventuring–First Aid, Navigation, Leave No Trace/10 Essentials, Shelter Building, and Staying Warm. We were so fortunate to have every station “womanned” by amazing and experienced volunteers to teach and serve as role models for the girls.
Pam Bode, Resources Staff Officer for the Bridger-Teton National Forest, did an excellent job teaching the participants the fundamentals of navigation and map-reading with the support of SheJumps Ambassadors Betsy Manero (Teton Valley) and Laraine Martin (Steamboat Springs, CO). Girls learned how to read topographic maps and use their compasses to put “Red in the Shed” to find true north.
The Shelter Building and Staying Warm stations were led by local experts, Chelsea Phillippe and Chris Snell, both National Forest Service Wilderness Rangers on the Bridger Teton National Forest. Considering the Tetons were receiving their first snows of the seasons, it was especially important the girls know how to construct shelters and stay warm in the elements.
The little Girraficorns also learned the basics of First Aid led by Emergency Physician, Lizzie Asher, and how to Leave No Trace with master LNT practician, Alyssa Kaelin.
Our volunteer crew was phenomenal and we could never have pulled off such a successful day without their commitment, passion, expertise, and willingness to show up. We had an incredible turnout of ladies from the local community, including but not limited to: the Jackson Hole Babe Force, Backcountry Zero, Teton County SAR, Guides, professional skiers, local doctors and nurses, teachers, girl scout leaders, fire-fighters, and moms. We want to sincerely thank you and unabashedly say that WE COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOU.
Thanks also to all of our locals partners who contributed their time, space, and resources:
Keep your eyes peeled for Winter Wild Skills in Jackson in the near future!