A Weekend Of Women’s Empowerment – Exploring California’s Coastline

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For the first time, our Outdoor Explorers Program lead an all female-identifying overnight kayaking trip to Santa Cruz. The weekend was filled with memorable coastal experiences along the shoreline. Participants learned how to set up camp, visited a marine sanctuary, went on a nighttime beach walk, heard from park rangers, and lastly kayaked through Santa Cruz Harbor.

More than ever participants felt empowered and inspired by the group itself. With an all-female leadership team, the young ladies had mentors to look up to. Students reflected feeling empowered by seeing such strong women in leadership positions.

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Many of the participants were nervous about being around all girls, but after some time passed, they reflected that this cohort made them feel accepted, loved, valued more than they ever have felt before.

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The vibes were great throughout the trip, and the adventure and thrill of kayaking just made everything better. All of our participants were first-time sea-kayakers, and many of them were very nervous to be in an open body of water. With support from each other, every student pushed through the uncertainty and had a blast out on the water.

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This weekend was a great way for these young women to connect with the coastline, each other, adult mentors, and themselves.

Check out what they had to say about the trip! 

“I really enjoyed this trip. I experienced a bunch of firsts during this trip like the first time camping and the first time kayaking and the first time in Santa Cruz. I had so much fun and this was such an amazing group to go with. I hope I’ll get to go back sometime in the future” – Cece, Outdoor Explorer

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Cece (left) and Leilana (right) enjoying beach time together.

“I enjoyed how the trip turned out. It was a very empowering experience for all of us especially since we had a group of strong females and strong female leaders. I loved the fact that we helped each other out and had fun. I really enjoyed everything that happened this trip and I would love to do it again. I’m very thankful. There is nothing I would change and my favorite part was spending time with everyone.” – Leilana, Outdoor Explorer

“Overall, I feel like this trip was an opportunity for personal growth. Being able to challenge myself and knowing I had the support of the group to do it is really what ultimately pushed me to take risks that I wouldn’t have otherwise. At first, I didn’t think having an all-girls group would mean or change much, but when we got to the kayaking place and I saw the male instructors I could feel a shift in my emotions that let me know how great the effects of being surrounded by powerful women all weekend had been. All of the volunteers/chaperones were very inviting and felt more like older wiser siblings than just supervisors. I really enjoyed this trip and will cherish the memories and friendships I formed forever.” – Gracy, Outdoor Explorer

I absolutely loved this trip! It really got me thinking about how we should really limit our trash for the ocean. I made new friends too that I absolutely love! Kayaking was just a plus it was really nice to experience kayaking in the ocean. And it was great seeing all us women do all of the “manly” things ourselves #wedontneednomen!” – Delaney, Outdoor Explorer

“I think this is a really amazing trip. I learned a lot of things that I never knew before. And also in this trip help me get over my fear of water after I felt down the water. So this is a memorable trip.” – My, Outdoor Explorer

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June (left) and My (right) posing for their beach pic!

“I enjoyed the trip a lot. I’ve learned a lot: self-care, setting up tent, team-working, communicating, and kayaking. I felt more mature after the trip. Kayaking becomes my favorite thing. The adults in the team have empowered and inspired me to become a more independent and strong woman. Thank you so much for planning and carrying out this event. It’s been a great time, and I’m looking forward to the next trip.” – June, Outdoor Explorer

“I had a lot of fun on this trip meeting and bonding with everyone. I was nerves at first to come but I’m glad I did because it has been memorable. Even though I seemed to have bad luck on this trip It was a really great experience overall.” – Isabella, Outdoor Explorer

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Allison enjoying the ocean waves! 

“I had an amazing time with everyone the volunteers were the best. This trip helps me realize that females are very powerful and could do amazing things and make everyone feel included and not be embarrassed. The vibe and trust and bonding reminded me why I go on these trips.” – Allison, Outdoor Explorer

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Guadalupe taking a stroll on the beach. 

“The kayaking trip was amazing it was a wonderful experience. I would do it again. I had an amazing day with people I knew and with the new faces I met and talked to. I also liked how we were all girls and we were helping each other out and taking care of one another. This trip was fun, and peaceful since it gave me space to think and talk to people about college and other personal stuff. Love the communication and how we trust one another! Hope to go again and learn more about kayaking!” – Guadalupe, Outdoor Explorer

“The trip was an experience like no other. The ambiance was amazing being able to relax and hang out with other females. I am very appreciative towards you and our other mentors and fellow interns. It’s going to be something I’ll never forget” – Diana, Outdoor Explorer

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Leilana (left), Ahriyana (middle) and Guadalupe (right) practicing paddling and communicating with one another! 

“I really enjoyed the trip. Kayaking was easier and not as scary as I expected. Everyone was very nice and welcoming. I also hope to do it again.” – Ahriyana, Outdoor Explorer

“It was great and had a lot of fun meeting new people and hanging out there” – Arlette, Outdoor Explorer


Special thank you to Kayak Connections for providing our team with excellent instructors and all the kayaking gear we needed to get our youth out on the water! 

Shout out to our volunteers, Sadie, Andrea and Analucia for being so fabulous! You were great additions to the team and we can’t wait to have you back! 

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Volunteers Sadie (left) and Andrea (right) paddling through Santa Cruz Harbor 
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Volunteer Analucia enjoying the Santa Cruz sunshine! 

ADVENTURE | RELATIONSHIPS | CONFIDENCE 

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