When SheJumps co-founder Vanessa Pierce organized a group of 14 women to climb the Grand Teton together in July 2007, we broke a glass ceiling. Never before had such a large group of women stood together on the summit at the same time. Since that inaugural SheJumps event, we have given 36,000 outdoor experiences through more than 1,036 events in 22 different states and in parts of Canada. We have challenged the narrative of who belongs in the outdoors by cultivating leadership development across multiple communities through our volunteer programs (and events).
As a small but mighty nonprofit, we want to pull back the curtain to share how our organization has evolved over the years, and how your support refines and sustains these efforts across local communities each year. We are working to change not only the rules of the game, but to create a new game where all people feel belonging. We need your help to do it.
The first five years of SheJumps (2007-2012) was definitively grassroots. Informal events were organized by keen volunteers who used personal emails to organize and promote events. This was before social media! These intrepid volunteers gathered email addresses and took photos, which we would post on our website. In this way, we hoped to shine light on inspirational women and to strengthen communities.
As word of mouth grew, we saw a clear need to build structure in order to accelerate our impact. We introduced our first official volunteer program in 2013 featuring Ambassadors and Regional Coordinators in seven regions around the country. This allowed us to provide a meaningful way for more people to bring the magic of SheJumps to their communities through volunteering.
Nearly every single accomplishment in the span of 14 years is tied to some level of SheJumps volunteers. From launching the Wild Skills program (free program that teaches foundational outdoor skills to girls starting at age 6) to the Snowpack Scholarship program (providing avalanche education scholarships and access to skiing, specifically for Black, Indigenous, Women of Color)—none of it would be possible without the incredible contributions of our volunteers.
SheJumps programs teach self-sufficiency, technical skills, and outdoor leadership, and we are proud to “practice what we preach” through our ever-developing volunteer program. From DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) training and risk management training, to connecting local organizations, businesses, and community leaders, we ask a lot of our volunteers because we know (as you do) that this is important work. To our participants, it might seem like a simple bike clinic or a casual day hike, but to the volunteers who host those events it’s a powerful statement of self-starting leadership, teamwork, and the knowledge that everyone can make a difference in this world. Behind every SheJumps event you see, hundreds of hours of training are offered to volunteers to lead to a safe and successful event.
Since 2013, we have expanded the Regional Volunteer team to include Regional Directors who oversee state-level Regional Coordinators. In 2020, we refined our Ambassador role to specify the roles of Event Coordinators and Brand Ambassadors. As a team, these critical stakeholders bring the magic of SheJumps alive in local communities.
Your Support Impacts Your Community
We recognize everyone has something different to bring to the table and each volunteer has a different ‘why’ for volunteering. The training we provide helps each individual articulate that ‘why’ in the form of impactful local programs and events.
When you support SheJumps, you are supporting an organization that provides space and time for individuals to raise their hand and say “I want to be a part of something bigger than myself.” These volunteers commit to more than just showing up to events. They commit to cultivating a community. Vested with the courage to be a local leader, these team members are the electricity that ‘keeps the lights’ on for our mission. As a result of their efforts, our participants can absorb that same courage and confidence when they see it modeled. The cycle grows because more of our participants say “I want to make a difference.”
We believe in modeling leadership at every level of our organization. When you donate to SheJumps, you are investing in leadership for women in all communities and you are giving to an organization that is volunteer-driven and volunteer-led. Without our volunteers, SheJumps simply would not exist.
So this spring we are raising money to help SheJumps sustain the investments we’ve made. Investments into our mission, our communities, and most importantly, our leaders—our volunteers. With a small staff of three, thanks to these incredible volunteers—we’re able to grow well beyond the brave dreams of the co-founders and into something that will endure for generations to come.