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Take Risks, Get Dirty, Face Difficulty with Bravery

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Girls Rising Bravely to Challenges Outdoors

Wed, 01/06/2021 - 08:00

Girls Camp Outdoors Bravery ChallengesTo welcome the New Year, we'd like to share this piece by Abby S, a former Alpenguide and inspirational outdoorswoman! We hope your year is filled with adventure, opportunity, and courage!

Caroline Paul was one of the first female firefighters in the San Francisco Fire Department. She worked for over a decade in a dangerous neighborhood afflicted with gangs and rundown homes waiting to catch fire. She wrote an article in the New York Times in response to a question she heard frequently on the job - a question that, she says, her male colleagues were never asked. 

“Aren’t you scared?”

Despite her years of experience and marked courage in the face of fear, this question kept coming up.

In her article, Why Do We Teach Girls That It’s Cute To Be Scared, Paul addresses her deep concern that girls and women are expected to be fearful (warned away from doing anything that involves even a hint of risk) while boys and men are taught to be brave.

Backpacking outdoor girls campHer article cites a study published in The Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology which focused on a playground fire pole. The study showed that parents cautioned their daughters about the dangers of the fire pole significantly more than they did their sons. Both moms and dads directed their sons to face their fears, giving instruction on how to complete the task on their own, while physically assisting or discouraging their daughters altogether. 

Studies have shown that learning to take reasonable risks at a young age teaches important life skills - resilience, problem-solving, confidence and responsibility to name a few. By encouraging daughters to be overly-cautious, girls are missing out. In Paul’s words, “By cautioning girls away from these experiences, we are not protecting them. We are failing to prepare them for life.”

Rock climbing girls campAt Alpengirl, we aim to produce brave, resilient girls! We STRONGLY BELIEVE that girls too should be encouraged to try new activities, take risks, get dirty, and face difficult tasks with bravery! We know that girls need to go on adventures and spend as much time outside as boys do and that the benefits of these experiences for girls can be LIFE-CHANGING. 

In all-female groups, young girls are able to realize just how strong and capable they truly are. When confronted by fear at camp, Alpengirls are encouraged to find courage rather than giving in to their doubts. Whether it’s sleeping in a tent, rafting down white water or getting on a horse for the first time, Alpengirls have strong, supportive female Alpenguides to look to as role models along the way. 

Looking for ways to raise brave girls?

Here are 10 ways to teach our girls and ourselves to have confidence: 

10 Ways to Raise Brave Girls

~ This blog was written by Alpenguide Abby (aka Jigsaw)