In Series 2, Episode 7, of Pack Heavy Chase Light, we look at Hannah de Silva and the collective and creative agency she founded called Gorp Girls. The London-residing Canadian set up Gorp Girls two years ago to showcase women in the outdoors and make them comfortable in that environment. 

What started as a hiking club for Londoners looking to embrace nature has turned into a popular collective and community that includes the hiking club, climbing workshops and a city-safe run club. Such has been the interest, de Silva has quit her job and committed to it full-time. The idea has now expanded into a casting and consultancy platform to get more female representation in outdoor marketing campaigns and projects. 

Gorp Girls is an example of how successful and empowering it is when a like-minded community of women band together to enjoy the outdoors and their passions. It isn't the only one though. All over the planet, there are organisations established that help women cut through the obstacles and the bullshit, so they can skate, sail, surf, hike, climb and run and have fun. We look at a few here. 

Another London-based collective whose original goal was simple; make the ocean more accessible to urban-dwelling women. Starting with small crews taking surf trips on buses down to Cornwall and Devon, it quickly escalated into something bigger and more meaningful. They now continue to encourage and facilitate under-represented groups into the sea and onto a ramp, as well as partnering with charities such as Switchback, which support young men when they leave prison. Their annual Camp Wipeout, a retreat based around surfing, wellness, yoga, mental health, and excellent food, has become a tribal gathering showing what can be achieved when an ocean pathway is provided to those who never had it.

Kool Society is a female-only movement that promotes collaboration and celebrates the
unconventional. They aim to inspire passionate surfers, snowboarders and skaters who want to deepen their performance and explore their full potential in an environment of openness, simplicity and enthusiasm. This is mainly achieved through Portugal-based rider residencies and workshops, where expert tuition from athletes, photographers and fitness gurus cultivates an environment where punters can learn, evolve and create without judgment.

Flash Foxy began as an online platform in 2014 to celebrate women climbing with women and to be a place where women could come to feel inspired by and connected. A community of women climbers quickly gathered to build solidarity and play with the possibility of climbing differently. It has since evolved to stand with women and genderqueer climbers who need a space to pursue their love of the sport without having to deal with historic barriers to access.

In 2016, they held the inaugural Women’s Climbing Festival, now known as the Flash Foxy Climbing Festival and have added a Trad Fest for kid climbers. Trailfest, where mountain runners and non-runners alike come together and enjoy trail time without the pressure of racing, is a new addition to the Flash Foxy roster.

SheJumps goal is to help women and girls take risks in the outdoors to enable them to break through fears so they can grow to their full potential. It’s a big ambition, sure, but through outdoor education, mentor programs and youth initiatives held all over the USA, SheJumps have provided nature-based inspiration to hundreds of thousands of girls aged between 6 and 17 since 2007. The sentiment of "If she can do it, so can I,” has anchored all the programs as they aim to spark joy into more communities through outdoor play and overall well-being.

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