Cristy Watson Town: Glen Allen, Virginia Home Mountain: Big Sky, Montana
What are you most looking forward to in your role as Southeast Regional Coordinator?
I’m really stoked to bring the passion and excitement about the outdoors that SheJumps embodies to the Southeast! I know there are a lot of ladies and kids down here that will be as eager to join as we are to have them, so I’ll be seeking them out! Keep your eyes posted for events and don’t hesitate to reach out to me at email@example.com if you have any ideas, suggestions, or feedback – I’d love to hear it all!
How did you get to be involved in the outdoors?
Being outdoors has always been a major piece of what makes me the person I am. I was unbelievably lucky to be brought up in a family that lives for doing everything outside. My childhood was made up of trips out to the mountains, forest, lake, and ocean. For us, a family vacation meant driving out to the wilderness to go camping, hiking, or fishing!
The love for wildlife has carried over to my adult life – I take every opportunity I can to be outdoors. My vacations these days revolve around me being both outside and active. I can’t imagine a life without a love and respect for nature and all the wildlife that calls it home. I’m extremely lucky to be a part of my family and am eternally grateful to my parents for introducing me to the lifestyle that I love so much.
What sports and activities do you participate in?
I wrestled competitively at the national level when I was in school. I was involved in the sport for 10 years, but since graduating college have turned my focus entirely to the outdoors when it comes to sports. I spend my time skiing, surfing, mountain biking, fishing, hunting, hiking, camping, and running outside. I’m also going to take up mountaineering this year – climbing Mt. Rainier in August ’13!
Do you have a favorite outdoor activity?
I absolutely love skiing! I started a lot later in life than most skiers tend to – I picked it up 5 years ago (at the tender age of 22) and have pushed myself every year to go bigger than the year before. My favorite place in the world is Big Sky, Montana and I look forward to my trips there each year. I love the feeling I get when I’m on the mountain – the only thing on my mind is the excitement of picking my way down the hill and the company of my friends and family. This is something that I’ll be doing for the rest of my life. I spend much of the year anticipating the moment my skis will touch snow for the first time the following winter – so I know I’ve found my true passion in the world of sports.
Check out a recap of my 2012/2013 season (and struggle with compartment syndrome) below!
In your own words, what is the mission of SheJumps?
The mission of SheJumps is to create a community and support system of women who are passionate about the outdoors, determined to reach their biggest goals, and eager to push others to go beyond what they thought was possible. SheJumps empowers girls to be proud of performing “like a girl.”
How does this resonate with you?
I think so many of us girls that have been competitive in a sport, especially a male dominated sport, have gone through the phase of not wanting to be called or thought of as a girl. We’ve become inundated with the idea that girls are not tough, but instead emotional, weak, afraid, unsupportive, the list goes on. Thinking of ourselves as the exception to this rule further perpetuates this misconception within ourselves. I consider it one of the biggest aha moments in my life when I decided to embrace the fact that I am a girl and at the same time I’m strong, confident, competitive, and dedicated to my sport. By embracing this, we not only give ourselves the freedom to be who we are, but allow ourselves to respect the abilities of other amazing women.
Celebrating being a girl and an athlete is very empowering. I want young girls to be proud of the fact that they are girls, not feel the need to choose between girl and athlete. Being a girl shouldn’t be viewed as a disadvantage or a negative – we get to be pretty and girly, yet still be tough. I want to encourage other girls to own this, and instill the sense of support among the female community at a young age! Feeling joy and celebrating in the successes of other women is something that I think is critical for every girl to embrace, and the idea behind SheJumps promotes this way of thinking.
What are your athletic goals for 2013?
This year my largest goal is to reach the summit of Mount Rainier. I will be attempting to summit in August and am currently in the midst of training for that trip. This will be the first time I’ve done any mountaineering, so it’s going to be an exciting, new experience for me. This is also going to be a great opportunity to spend time with my two brothers, who I’m very close with.
What example do you think is important to set for women (and girls) who might want to become more active or try a new sport?
I think the two biggest learnings I could instill in others are:
1. Support others and surround yourself with those who will support you. Being torn down/tearing down others hurts everyone. Having a poor attitude or being around others that have a negative outlook won’t allow you to perform to your fullest ability.
2. Don’t define success by how you compare to others. Even if you feel like you’re the worst at the activity you’re doing…you’re doing it! Everyone learns/grows at different rates, and we’ve all been involved in different sports for varying amounts of time. If you’re only gauging your successes by how you compare to others, you’ll always be disappointed – no matter how great you are. The real goal should be pushing yourself as far as you can go and working to improve on your own personal bests. Being competitive and striving to perform like your idol or the girl right next to you is great, but you can’t beat yourself up for doing the best you possibly can.
What big, hairy, audacious goal would you dare to accomplish if you knew the only possible outcome was success
My two dreams are to be able to live a life in the mountains (rather than just having all my vacations take me to the mountains) and to become a business owner. For the past few years I’ve dreamed of opening a combination bakery/deli – I think I’m most well-known by those who’ve met me by my love of sandwiches (and bears!). However, I found out in Dec ’12 that I have gluten allergy! So, I’m now re-learning recipes with gluten free adjustments and creating new ones.
What are your passions apart from outdoor activities?
Writing! I started a humor blog (ccandthebear.blogspot.com) about two years ago. My natural awkwardness seems to make for some interesting stories. When I was younger (and still to some degree now), I was a very shy person, so being able to accept that it’s okay if I make a fool of myself has been very empowering for me. Making construction paper pictures of me falling down stairs and talking to bears seemed like the natural next step!
I also love cooking and doing anything with close friends and family!