By: Hannah Whitney
SheJumps is so much more than a name, and more than an organization to me. It is a way of living. A way of being. I was a jumper long before the nonprofit existed, as were so many of us. We were lucky to have the passion and drive that saw SheJumps into true manifestation, already living inside us. The wonderful founders started talking about a vision out loud…and the rest is history. There must be millions of girls and women around the world who also share this passionate zest for life and have never heard of SheJumps. Many never will. I feel so fortunate to have become a part of this amazing community, and it has been one of my passions to share this organization and its inspiring mission with as many of those millions as possible. I am a better human being because of SheJumps, and because of all the amazing ladies I have met along the way.
My name is Hannah. I have been involved with SheJumps since 2007 when I met Claire Smallwood on the US Freeskiing Tour. It would take far too long to share the many stories along the way that led me to be more involved with the chapter here in Utah. Mostly what I want to share is that the growth and challenge that happened over the last 6+ years has been inspiring on so many levels. Easy? No. Laughter. Tears. Moments of epiphany. Some of defeat…which never last long! Strength. Blood. Truth. Frustration. Exaltation. Friendship. Worth it? Every.Single.Moment. We all experience life differently. Embracing those differences can allow us to gain so much more from the experiences and opportunities along the way. Will we always see things eye to eye? Will I get along with everyone I meet? Of course not. But I still strive to appreciate each person I meet for who they are and the potential they have to share with me and the world. SheJumps helped teach me some of these things. All of this has made it so hard to take a step back from my heavy involvement at the Regional Director in Utah. But not doing so also would have been counter to what I’ve learned. I will always be a SheJumper. And I have taken my now better self forward toward fulfilling my passion for giving back to the earth that gives so much to me.
Most people that know me, know I’m a bit of a passionate environmentalist, ‘tree hugger’, or whatever you want to call me. Again, I could go on and on about my thoughts and feelings about caring for the earth. About my fears and my visions of hope. And someday, hopefully you do hear more from me. But for now lets just agree that the earth is amazing, just as humans and other creatures are amazing. I personally hope to continue working toward a career that gives back to the earth. Currently I’m doing this by working for the wonderful clothing company Patagonia, AND by not only being a tree hugger, but a tree planter with the non-profit TreeUtah. As TreeUtah’s volunteer coordinator I draw both on my schooling in Ecology and Environmental Science and the many personal and professional skills I learned with SheJumps. I love sharing my passion with others so involving volunteers (and recruiting friends) is a perfect outlet for me! With help from our small TreeUtah staff, Alta Ski Area and the Alta Environmental Center I recently organized almost 130 volunteers to plant 2,400 little trees all around Alta. It was a wonderful and challenging day. Each time I have a moment of triumph like this planting, I am reminded of the great influence SheJumps had in getting me to that place. I hope that each day I might in turn inspire and positively influence someone else. Not necessarily to be like me, but to be themselves. Embrace your passions. Embrace your fears. Embrace what makes you unique. Embrace challenges and embrace life! Be a SheJumper. Or a HeJumper? Absolutely. Just be you and be an open book so you can become the best version of you possible. Just a few thoughts from someone who is still learning…and I hope I never stop!
Hannah Whitney is a Salt Lake City based SheJumper who has been involved in SJ for the last six years, including time spend as Regional Director. She now splits her time between working for Patagonia and TreeUtah, while spending as much time outdoors as possible!