On August 2, SheJumps held their first Wild Skills Sailing Event at the Jordanelle Reservoir in Park City, Utah. The calm, glassy waters proved perfect for the young participants to learn the basics of both sailing and survival skills with tremendous help from Park City Sailing.
“The morning was perfect for the younger girls to go out,” explained Janel McInnes, the organizer of the event. “Everyone loved the water, all the girls jumped off the sailboat to swim - we could hear their giggles from shore!” Many family members of the girls came out to the reservoir in support of the program as well, bringing food, drinks and encouragement. Later in the day, the wind and rain didn’t stop anyone from having a great time.
“One of the most special moments for me was when they gave me a hug afterwards and said ‘see you next time,’” said Janel. “I hope we can continue to build community through SheJumps events and give the girls a vision of what they can do in the future.”
The majority of the participants who attended are from immigrant and refugee families from the Hartland Community 4 Youth And Family organization. SheJumps has been working with them for the past four-years to create low-cost and free events. “SheJumps has been a great partner to bring climbing, hiking, camping, skiing and now sailing to our organization for outdoor education,” said Gilberto Rejon Magana, Executive Director. “Together with this partnership, we can create pathways to college and beyond.”
Sam Millsap, a Wild Skills volunteer, became involved with SheJumps two years ago with their programs through the Hartland Community outreach. Since then, she has become an ambassador and now plans events for those same girls in Utah. “Similarly to most SheJumps events, this one did a great job of teaching girls a sport they wouldn’t normally experience,” she said. The aim of the Wild Skills youth events is to provide outdoor education across the country to girls aged 6-17 years old that focus on survival and technical skills.
At the sailing event, Sam taught navigation as part of the Wild Skills curriculum the girls learned. “I would say the two best moments of the day were when the girls started playing ‘i-spy’ to find symbols from the legend on a map,” Sam said. “Also, when the group of 9-10 year olds built three great shelters that was able to protect them from the light rain shower!” On top of learning navigation and shelter building, they also learned first aid and Leave-No-Trace principles.
The SheJumps Sailing Event was successful due to many different outreach efforts. Park City Sailing is a non-profit organization that aims to create accessibility for all members of the Park City community to learn sailing. Their team provided the fleet as sailboats as well as instructors to help teach the girls how to sail. Through the Park City Community Organization, which focuses on diversity and inclusion, SheJumps was able to use the the Salomon Fund Grant to help for transportation with Christina McAlpin as the grant writer.
This is far from the last sailing event SheJumps will offer. In May of 2020, SheJumps will be hosting an overnight Wild Skills Sailing Event on the San Juan Islands off the shores of Washington. The event welcomes all women and girls (transgender and cisgender) as well as non-binary people who identify with the women’s community.