Photo Essay: Women's Outdoor Summit for Empowerment

By: Kristina Frost

On June 14 and 15, the Women's Outdoor Summit for Empowerment was held in the Presidio of San Francisco, which is a National Park within the city—and what an honor to spend the day in this gorgeous place AND CAMP within its city limits! Besides the amazing views, my favorite part was meeting more people who are just as passionate about fostering a more inclusive and diverse outdoors focused on women.

The summit invited some of the outdoor’s greatest leaders to speak from a variety of organizations and backgrounds including Rose Marcario, the CEO of Patagonia, Carolyn Finney Ph.D, Kelly Martin, the Chief of Fire and Aviation Management at Yosemite National Park, Teresa Baker, Alyssa Ravasio, and Altitude Seven’s very own founder, Georgina Miranda!

DAY 1 

Filled with a dynamic range of powerhouse women, they shared their personal stories and stances on creating a more inclusive outdoors, their personal missions around the topic, and what we can do as individuals and as a community to do the same.

Between their individual talks and the panel discussion there were so many good nuggets of wisdom and inspiration for me including a few quotes below that really make me think on a deeper level around a contributing to create a more inclusive outdoors for women.

“Privilege has a privilege of NOT seeing itself.”
–Carolyn Finney, Ph.D.
“Is this [the job or project] where I can grow, or be continually shutdown?”
–Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia
“If it’s not me, then who? If it’s not now, then when?”
–Kelly Martin, Chief of Fire and Aviation Management at Yosemite National Park
“If you don't see it yet, don't let it hold you back. Find a way to light yourself back up."
–Georgina Miranda, Founder of Altitude Seven

Day 1 Evening

After the guest speakers, panels and breakout sessions, we got to camp inside San Francisco in the Presidio! We all made our way to Rob Hill Campground, set up our rad group sites and got to enjoy the sunset while whale watching. After sunset we watched the inspiring Venturous Voices film on the big screen and enjoyed a toasty bonfire and s’mores gathering put on by Hipcamp, the perfect ending to the night!

Day 2 Morning

The morning was surprisingly sunny and warm (not usual for San Francisco in June) and it was a leisurely morning. We had the fortune to hear from 3 amazing leaders in the outdoors; Jean Fraser of the Presidio Trust, and Laura Joss and Cecily Muldoon of the National Park Service. They gave us their reflections on the top five things to know about working in the outdoors and then followed up with a collective question and answer session that felt more like a heart and passion filled discussion among friends.

Some notable nuggets:

“You can do everything you want in life, just not at the same time.”
–Jean Fraser, CEO of The Presidio Trust
“Connect people who might not have the same access you do. Open a few doors.”
–Jean Fraser, CEO of The Presidio Trust
“Suggest things [and jobs] for people they might not think they’re capable of, but in reality they are.”
–Laura Joss, NPS, Pacific West Regional Director

Day 2 Afternoon

After the morning talks, we had the chance to pick an activity to do and I was immediately drawn to the option for Shinrin Yoku, roughly translated from Japanese to “forest therapy” led by Gregg Berman of In Connection With Nature. Gregg set up the activity nicely by saying that so often we go out in nature and we travel through it, but today in Shinrin Yoku, we will slow down and connect to nature. THIS connection felt like what I was missing from my time in the outdoors. We spent our first 10 minutes in the forest connecting to it through a guided meditation with Gregg and then spent 7 minutes connecting with nature by slowing down and paying attention to the motion of the forest in a slow hike. We were all so quiet and calm and we ended with a partner exercise where one of us closed our eyes and the other with eyes opened, guided us to interact with the forest using our other senses like touch, smell and hearing.

It was such a lovely experience to at first slow down, but even more deeper when we allowed others to guide us in the forest and guide them in return.

Wrap Up

After our outdoor activity we all came together again as one group and discussed how we can come together as a community going forward. It was such a warm and open discussion about hard topics that we just don’t have solutions to just yet around making the outdoors inclusive for all, but what came out of it was some serious empowerment to take action and to do it together. There was talk about writing an open letter to the outdoor industry and creating more of these summits around the nation. I was so inspired by all of this and got up in front of everyone asking for help in creating an adventure film festival that would be focused solely on showing films that tell the stories of females from a multitude of ethnicities, socioeconomic classes, abilities, and ranges on the gender spectrum. Needless to say, I left on a energy high and got many folks coming up and asking to contribute for the film festival! THIS IS EMPOWERMENT. This is exactly what Teresa Baker, Georgina Miranda, The National Park Service, Presidio Trust, and the rest of the people who dreamt this up and made this summit possible wanted to happen. <3

All photos and writing by Kristina Frost

Special thanks to the partners and sponsors that made this event possible!