Love Her Wild is launching its very own ‘Outdoor Academy’ to give female outdoor beginners the skills and confidence to make the outdoors part of their lives.
One of the challenges Love Her Wild leaders face is supporting women to have the confidence engaging in our outdoor adventures. Women share stories of “lurking” on social media, watching others have adventures, whilst feeling they themselves are not fit/fast/brave/skilled enough. There is still an enduring perception of the outdoors as an extreme, competitive place which requires fitness, expensive travel, kit or expertise. Women in particular find this challenging and the 2021 LHW survey showed that, sadly, they are not always made to feel welcome. Yet we know the huge benefits access to the outdoors offers in terms of wellbeing, personal development and environmental awareness.
Outdoor Academy is designed to be a beginner's guide to the everyday outdoors! 15 team members will be selected through an application process to join the fully-funded weekend in April 2023. It will be packed with outdoor learning workshops, activities and discussions to build outdoor confidence and skills from scratch. It’s important we hear what the team members feel they need from the workshops to achieve this - so we’ve asked them in the application form. Ideas so far include the often-overlooked basics of what to wear, where to go and what to do when you’re there. Our previous experience in the community has also suggested workshops on overcoming confidence barriers, navigation, leave no trace and camping skills.
We are determined that the event will have a lasting impact and a wider reach than just the 15 attendees. All workshops will be designed to have ‘to do’ actions so team members can get outdoors locally. We hope they will be inspired and empowered to explore their local areas, take their families and friends outdoors more, join local LHW events, book outdoor skills courses and plan outdoor adventures. Day two of Outdoor Academy will be dedicated to creating opportunities for inspiring the 26k-strong LHW community. Again, we would like team members to shape what this looks like, and ideas so far include arranging local meet-ups, creating videos, how-to guides and diaries.
Outdoor Academy is being led by Siân Louise Brewer, a Mountain Leader and accredited outdoor learning practitioner who has been part of the Love Her Wild community since 2018. Siân will be supported by 3 assistant leaders who will design and deliver their own Outdoor Academy workshop and assist with all leadership aspects of the event. This leadership development opportunity was built into the funding applications for Outdoor Academy to support some of the growing number of women in the LHW community starting their outdoor leadership journey. They will gain paid experience in workshop delivery, outdoor leadership and professional development with a national Community Interest Company.
Applications to be a team member in Outdoor Academy are open NOW until Friday 3rd February 2023.
Find out more here: www.loveherwild.com/outdoor-academy