Our mission is to empower girls with confidence, courage, and compassion through outdoor adventures.
Our vision is a society that values people of all identities and backgrounds, one in which girls and women realize their full potential and are dedicated to improving their lives and the world around them.
Chrysalis Girls Adventures offers camping, hiking, and backpacking expeditions for girls entering 4th-8th grades. We embrace the outdoor environment as a medium for empowering pre- and early-adolescent girls to build healthy relationships with one another, recognize and celebrate their strengths, and connect with the natural world. Students learn to live and travel in the outdoors, hiking up to 3 miles/day with everything we need on our backs. Rest days focus on community-building, leadership development, diversity and allyship, self-awareness, positive body image, healthy living, and enjoying the breathtaking beaches & forests in Point Reyes National Seashore and Marin County. Throughout all of our programs, we celebrate our unique identities as bold & brave girls* in the beautiful outdoors!
*Chrysalis Girls Adventures recognizes that there are different lived realities for those who identify as “girls.” Our programs emphasize girl and female empowerment through outdoor adventure. Girls* refers to all girl-identified youth, including cis girls, trans girls, gender non-conforming youth, gender-queer youth, gender-questioning youth, and gender-expansive youth who associate with the “girl” identity.
The Need & The Opportunity
Why the focus on girls? Why an outdoor environment? Here’s a brief look at what the literature has to say...
The pieces below are excerpts from my article in the Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership (2016).
THE NEED: ADOLESCENT GIRLS
Since the early 1990s, scholarly and popular literature, alike, have raised public awareness of the crises facing the healthy development of adolescent girls (e.g., American Association of University Women, 1991; Girl Scouts Research Institute, 2006; Wiseman, 2002; Witmer, Bocarro & Henderson, 2011). Although recent studies have also elevated concerns about adolescent boys (e.g., Henderson & Bialeschki, 2008; Tyre et al., 2006), the concerns do not negate the difficulties encountered by young girls. Compared to boys, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported, for example, that high school girls experienced higher rates of bullying, depression, and attempted suicide, and were more likely to describe themselves as overweight and participate in unhealthy weight loss methods (2012)...A seminal national study by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) found that upon entering adolescence, girls experienced decreased appreciation for their bodies, in addition to becoming more self-conscious, self-critical, and anxious (1991). Although both girls and boys experienced a decrease in self-esteem upon adolescence, the AAUW (1991) reported that the decline was greater in girls.
THE OPPORTUNITY: OUTDOOR ADVENTURE
In contrast to the occasional harmful messages of mainstream culture, outdoor adventure programming can offer adolescent girls confidence and courage (Whittington & Nixon Mack, 2010), physical competence and strength (Caulkins, White, & Russell, 2006), relational skills (Sammet, 2010), and self-efficacy (Budbill, 2008)...Ewert, Mitten, and Overholt (2014) reported outdoor adventure programs offer creative opportunities for achieving health benefits associated with the natural environment…All-female outdoor adventure programs can provide adolescent girls with increased appreciation for nature and greater awareness of one’s surroundings (Caulkins et al., 2006), as well as the opportunity to challenge socially prescribed notions of beauty and appropriate femininity (Whittington, 2006).
Barr-Wilson, S.K. and Roberts, N.S. (2016). Adolescent girls and body image: Influence of outdoor adventure on healthy living. Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership, 8(2), 148-164.
A Metaphor for Transformation
A “chrysalis” is the life stage of transformation a caterpillar undergoes to become a butterfly. Once a caterpillar has matured, it spends a considerable amount of time in a protective casing, growing and changing, until it is ready to emerge as its beautiful new identity.