By Jeannine Jabaay
Alaska is often described as a massive playground, enticing the adventure-minded into extreme activities. One organization, SheJumps, is seeking to even the playing field for women and girls of all ages, abilities and skill levels.
“The SheJumps community consists of women and girls of all backgrounds and ages who help one another reach their highest potential through outdoor adventures and education,” says Meg Smith, the Regional Coordinator of the SheJumps Far North (Alaska) Chapter.
The mission of SheJumps is simple: to increase the participation of females in outdoor activities.
“We accomplish this by offering Outdoor Education programs, Youth Initiatives, and grassroots gatherings,” says Smith.
Explaining the mission further, the SheJumps website elaborates on the organization’s purpose. “This is your chance to get involved with the life you’ve always dreamed of—and share the one you’re living—with women and girls in your local community and all over the world! We are here to create and share the new ‘cover girls;’ the new inspiration of what it means to ‘jump’ to reach your highest potential.”
SheJumps is a national non-profit organization founded in 2007 with seven regions across the country: Far North, Pacific Coast, Intermountain, Rockies, Mid-West, North East and South East. Events are held year-round in multiple outdoor activities. There is a Far North Facebook page where the groups posts the upcoming events for Alaska. Additionally, there is a calendar on the SheJumps.org website under the Far North page. “Types of events we have held in the past include Ice Climbing 101, Avalanche Companion Rescue Clinics, Whitewater Kayaking & Pack-Rafting River Running, Whitewater Roll Clinics, ‘Get the Girls Out’ at Alyeska, Bike Maintenance 101, and Youth Initiatives where we have volunteers teach the Boys & Girls Club to ski,” says Smith.
When asked why she got involved with SheJumps, Smith shares, “I believe in doing what makes you happy. Every jump I take in the outdoors is like nourishment for my soul. I got involved six years ago because I wanted to create opportunities and encourage other females to find that same fulfillment.”
SheJumps has a very distinct and unique logo, making it quite recognizable. Best described as a “girafficorn,” the mascot is a slender giraffe with the head corn of a unicorn or narwhal.
“Half giraffe, half unicorn, all magic,” shares Smith. “This mythical creature represents persevering and keeping your head held high above chaos and drama. She’s there to remind us to follow our dreams in the outdoors and beyond, with the support from a hint of magic that helps us to lighten up and play along the journey.”
SheJumps depends primarily on grassroots growth, providing ample volunteer opportunities for locals to step in and be a part. SheJumps is committed to staying mission-based, designing and creating ways to “Jump In, Jump Up, and Jump Out.”
Jump In: For the “Never-Evers” SheJumps creates activities and events that directly help those who might never otherwise have the chance to experience the benefits of challenging themself in the outdoors.
Jump Up: “Already actives” are the women looking for a supportive community to try new things, get better at what they already do, as well as have opportunities to give back and share what they know and love.
Jump Out: For Elite athletes who are positive female role models and are looking to give back through sharing their skills and stories, SheJumps provides a voice for the up-and-coming athletes, and a place to share with the community.
Regardless of if you’re JUMPING IN, JUMPING UP or JUMPING OUT, SheJumps provides ways for all women to be directly involved in encouraging other women to take a ‘jump.’
“We are always looking for willing and capable ladies to host an event,” shared Smith. “If you have ideas for an event you would like to see happen, let us know!”