SHEJUMPS AND THE
POWER OF THE GIRAFFICORN
Words and photos by Abby Cooper
You’ve probably noticed a few ‘Girafficorn’ stickers on water bottles, skis and laptops by now and wondered, “What the heck it is that?”
It’s more than just the logo for SheJumps, it’s a symbol for a rad mountain chick.
Founded in 2007, SheJumps is an all-female, non-profit organization dedicated to getting women of all ages involved in the outdoors. In more recent years, SheJumps has been making splashes in our neck of the woods up here in Canada. Founders Claire Smallwood, Lyndsey Dyer and Vanessa Pierce are big fans of celebrating International Women’s Ski Day, and we are too. Lyndsey Dyer also recently produced the all-girls ski film, Pretty Faces, which showcases much of our mountainous backyard, and in the process left many ‘Girafficorn’ stickers along the way.
Jumping is intended to be a free-spirited act that invigorates our inner child. Physical jumps like puddle jumping and trampoline jumping are simple and enjoyable. It’s the mental jumps in life that complicate matters. Trying something new should be a fun experience, but sometimes our lack of confidence or fear of stepping outside of our comfort zone holds us back. It is on this principle that SheJumps was created.
We’ve all been the newbie at something before and it can be uncomfortable. It’s a delicate dance where our bodies are desperately trying to learn a new movement and our minds to grasp a new thought process. This is often a very exciting stage, but can likewise be very intimidating. To be honest, you’re probably going to make mistakes and you’re probably going to look like a goof as you learn. Instead of letting the not-so-glamorous moments turn you off of testing new waters, SheJumps was set in motion to counteract these insecurities – and it starts with the right environment. Whether it’s your first rodeo or you’re a veteran, the community created by SheJumps is something you’ll want to be a part of. A new experience doesn’t always have to mean a first time; it might be a seasoned backcountry skier looking to hone in her mountaineering skills. SheJumps is about taking a leap to the first step or next step, and making it a smooth transition no matter what skill level you’re at.
Our mission is to increase the participation of women and girls in outdoor activities. We accomplish this by creating Wild Skills camps (free day camps for girls to learn outdoor adventures skills), Outdoor Education events for all women, high visibility “Get the Girls Out!” events and grassroots recreational gatherings. The SheJumps community consists of females of all backgrounds and ages who help on each other reach their highest potential through outdoor adventures and education.
SheJumps offers a variety of clinics, events and courses across North America, with one of the most bad-ass being held in Revelstoke, BC. The Alpine Finishing School is the highest course offered by SheJumps, ideal for those ski-mo (ski mountaineering) aspiring girls ready to push it to the next level. This week-long ski mountaineering course at Selkirk Lodge is a game changer.
Like all courses offered by SheJumps, you’ll leave with confidence, leadership skills, new knowledge and a whole bunch of new like-minded friends. In Banff, we have a few activities (hopefully more soon!) ranging from bike tire changing clinics to ski days. The best way to stay informed is to sign up for the SheJumps newsletter at SheJumps.org and follow their social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).
When asked, “What’s next?” here is what Claire Smallwood, Executive Director of SheJumps had to say:
“We are always trying to improve our regional efforts. From hosting more events to hosting better events, we are really dedicated to supporting our regional volunteers by constantly evaluating our programs and making sure they are making a difference in our communities. Also, look for more environmental and conservation/sustainability initiatives from SheJumps in the future.”
Although SheJumps is female specific, anyone can adopt their principles and help build our growing outdoor community properly. Fostering the spark in the next generation to get out there is not up to one organization alone, but to all who have something to share. So embrace that Girafficorn sticker with a high five to its owner, volunteer locally and take a little jump towards thinking more “SheJumps” on the daily.
A lover of all things outdoors, Abby Cooper is a splitboarder, climber, hiker, adventurer, photographer and writer. She’s living life one adventure to the next with her dog by her side.