Last fall, Backpacker Magazine surveyed over 3,000 of their readers, and discovered that women of all outdoor experience levels are less likely than their male counterparts to see themselves as leaders.
On October 11, an organization launched that challenges that status quo.
Mountain Mentors pairs experienced outdoorswomen with women who want to improve their climbing, mountain biking, ski touring or split boarding skills. The organization is modeled on the kind of formal mentorship programs that exist in the business world, with mentors and mentees signing contracts and making a commitment to get together at least 3 or 4 times during the season.
Like many recent outdoor initiatives, Mountain Mentors was born out of a Facebook group — Women’s Mountain Collective.
The group, which began as a few friends at UBC exchanging advice, gear and trip beta, quickly grew to over 300 members from all over the Lower Mainland. “We felt that it really demonstrated that there was a desire and a niche to fill in terms of connecting women in outdoor sports,” says Brett Trainor, one of Mountain Mentors’ founders, “and we started thinking about the ways in which we could do that.”
© Mountain Mentors
Many of the programs that exist for women in the outdoors, according to Trainor, are either beginner-focused, or expensive, high-level programs. There was nothing out there for people like her and her peers.
“We were kind of like, where’s the program for your regular, everyday, 9-5 businesswoman who also shreds on the side, or for moms or for students? Where are the options for these people? So that’s kind of where we figured, well maybe we should do something.”
That something is Mountain Mentors. Three days after launch it had already received over 100 applications from potential mentors and mentees.
To keep the momentum going, Trainor and Mountain Mentors’ other founder, Thea Zerba are currently planning kickoff events in Whistler and Vancouver for the end of November.
Want to apply to be a mentor or mentee? Follow the link: mountainmentors.org/apply