Empowering Young Women + Connecting with Nature
As part of ongoing efforts to share the world and efforts, to make it a better place, GoPro for a Cause is excited to support Y-WE. We set them up with some GoPro cameras and trainings to help the organization capture memories during its annual backpacking trip ... and beyond. The following words are by Rae Parks, Nature Connections Program Manager at Young Women Empowered.
At Young Women* Empowered (Y-WE) our mission is to cultivate the power of diverse young women to be creative leaders and courageous changemakers through transformative programs within a collaborative community of belonging. The Nature Connections program serves youth ages 13 to 18, who partake in a nine-month-long cohort that includes two outdoor programs a month. Here, youth, volunteer adult mentors and staff explore new and deeper ways to connect with themselves, one another and wild spaces. Together, we use the outdoors as a backdrop for building strong communities centered around justice and well-being.
This June, 12 youth and nine adult mentors and staff set out on a four-day adventure in the North Cascades National Park. From spectacular views to backcountry cinnamon rolls and deer sightings to evening sharing circles, the trip was filled with many moments of laughter, joy, healing and deep connection. Plus, thanks to GoPro, participants took on the roll of photographer to capture many of these incredible moments and experiences.
In the words of Samaya Pattim, a Y-WE summer intern from Duke University who joined us on the backpacking trip (her first!):
I could go on about all the things I learned through the youth: how to speak your mind and how it’s okay to ask for help when you need it. But above all, I recognized how deeply important the work that Y-WE does is.
Y-WE is such a special organization. It fosters growth and confidence and empowerment in a way that feels so organic. There were no forced ‘deep’ conversations or mandatory activities. There was just raw communication and naturally-created relationships.
By creating a comfortable space for expression and encouraging interests, Y-WE provides these young women with the tools they need to accomplish any goal. I’m so grateful to have been a part of this program. I’m taking away countless lessons, unforgettable memories, and a greater appreciation for nature.
Many thanks to the GoPro for a Cause team for the support in sharing the work and mission of Young Women Empowered.
*those who identity as women or girls or were assigned female at birth.