Empowering Women in the Outdoors
Ever wanted to learn how to stand-up paddleboard? Mountain bike? Really know how to do a chaturanga? AndShesDopeToo, a collective dedicated to helping women experience inspiring and empowering outdoor adventures, can help.
Creating a passion for the outdoors is an adventure in and of itself. Taylor and Jennifer Killian embarked on that journey with their family, and that passion evolved into bringing that same joy to others. AndShesDopeToo was the result, a place where women could leave their everyday lives behind and truly be themselves in the outdoors.
The balance the Killians find in nature is similar to the way they view each other: they’re equal sides to a two-sided coin, and they’ve created a product wherein the experience—the confidence gained, fun had, and connections made—is what they’re offering.
While only created back in 2015, ASDT has already hosted thousands of women for meetups, retreats, and rendezvous.
The semiannual rendezvous bring together 200 women for a weekend of camping and a variety of outdoor activities like mountain biking, climbing, and paddling. Evenings bring inspirational speakers, campfires, dance parties, and bonding. On retreats, small groups of women go farther into the backcountry and push their limits while bike packing, climbing, river surfing, canyoneering, and more. While their scope may be different, both share the common goal of creating a safe environment that allows women to try new things and be themselves without fear of judgement.
So how did they become so successful so quickly? Well, certainly due in part to just being who they are: dedicated, creative, and ever-curious people who recognize the wonders of the outdoors. That and their outstanding events, of course. But what makes ASDT so special and truly different from similar organizations is this: even if you’re a complete newbie to what’s on the agenda for an event, it doesn’t matter. All skill levels are welcome and encouraged, always.
ASDT events strive to create the ultimate ‘safe place’ for women who want to try something new. One participant explained: “I truly feel like I’d never be where I am in my life if ASDT had never entered [it]… I love trying new things with other women who have never done the activity before, learning from women who are willing to share their knowledge.”
The women taking part in these events are constantly discovering new aspects of their lives. When they leave, they’re inspired to live their everyday realities differently. Having feelings of confidence and self worth—a genuine love for one’s body and what it’s capable of—that’s life-changing.
The only thing ASDT seeks to facilitate (besides a truly rad time outdoors) is human connection. The Killians believe that that’s one of the most wonderful parts about being outside. When everything else is stripped away—the agendas, the ever-present cell phone, the search for WiFi—people and place is all you have, and quite honestly, it’s all you need.