Outdoor and Experiential Education Programs
for Adolescent Girls

(sample of programs nationwide and miscellaneous supporting resources)

GirlVentures (San Francisco, Bay Area), Transitions Course
Sierra Nevada Mountains

These programs are listed in order by region of the U.S.A. and Canada
(International Programs are welcome to be included)


Wild Women Expeditions (Girls Camps)
Jennifer Brammer, Director
P.O. Box 264
Woody Point, NL A0K 1P0 Canada
Ph. 1-888-993-1222
Note: Women and Girls Canoe Trip - Temagami, Northern Ontario. Take your daughter, niece or a special young girl in your life on a special bonding experience – a wilderness canoe trip with fun girl-friendly guides, other women with girls and all the details taken care of to enjoy the wonders of this amazing Canadian experience. Designed for budding wild girls age 8-14, with awesome mums, fab aunts, cool grannies, etc!


Coastal Studies for Girls
A Science and Leadership School
Pam Erickson, Executive Director
P.O. Box 266
Freeport, ME 04032
Ph. 207-865-9700
Mobile: 207-807-2199
Note:The country's first residential science and leadership semester school for tenth grade girls. CSG is dedicated to girls who have a love for learning and discovery, an adventurous spirit, and a desire to challenge themselves. Follow their adventures through our FaceBook and Blog links on the homepage of their website.

miela caves
Kroka Expeditions, Miela Caves II:
"Climbing at your own pace"

Kroka Expeditions
Misha Golfman, Founding Director
767 Forest Road
Marlow, NH 03456
Ph. 603-835-9087
Note: Two programs for girls: Wilderness Adventures for Girls (ages 11-13) & Wild Girls! (ages 13-15). Committed to awakening in young people a connection to nature and the spirit within, and a capacity for conscious living and compassionate service. They strive to achieve this through wilderness adventure, community living, farming, and the practice of traditional and indigenous skills.

Vermont Works for Women
Kelly Walsh, Director of Girls Programs
105 North Main Street, Suite 211
Barre, VT 05641
Ph. 802-622-0400
Note: Among other opportunities for girls and young women, Vermont Works for Women offers two adventure-based programs: Dirt Divas (mountain biking) and Rock & Adventure (rock climbing & cross country skiing). All programs target middle-school girls and are designed to nurture their innate capacity for confidence, courage, resiliency, and leadership.

dirt divas
Dirt Divas Mountain Bike & Empowerment Program
(Courtesy Photo)


Girls on Outdoor Adventure for Leadership and Science (GALS)
Jacqueline Gerson, Director
2403 Prince Street
Durham, NC 27707
Ph. 732-710-1844
Note: GALS is a 2-week program for high school girls from underrepresented backgrounds.  Girls backpack through Pisgah National Forest while learning hands-on, place-based science.  GALS strives to cultivate a passion for environmental science, develop leadership abilities, enhance critical thinking skills, and promote teamwork.


Inspiring Girls Expeditions
Erin Pettit, Glaciologist, Founder of Girls On Ice and Inspiring Girls Expeditions
University of Alaska, Fairbanks
College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics
PO Box 755940
Fairbanks, AK 99775
Note: Expedition teams of 9 teenage girls and 3 instructors spend 12 days exploring and learning in wilderness environments. Scientific field studies with professional glaciologists, geologists, ecologists, oceanographers, marine biologists, artists, and wilderness guides. Girls build critical thinking skills, gain self-confidence, and see the world with new eyes, while building lasting friendships. Expeditions include Girls on Ice (in Washington, Alaska, Switzerland, and soon Canada), Girls in Icy Fjords (Alaska, new in 2017), Girls on Water (Alaska, coming soon), and Girls on Rock (Colorado, coming soon). All programs are tuition free!

YMCA Girls Outdoor Leadership Development - GOLD
(Formerly Passages Northwest)
Courtney Aber, National Director
309 Pontius Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109
Ph. 206-382-5343
Fax. 206-382-4920
Note: GOLD programs inspire courage & leadership in girls and women through an integrated exploration of the arts and the natural environment in beautiful locations around the country. Spring break & summer adventures: climbing, backpacking, rafting, canoeing, biking. Partnership programs: Custom designed for schools and other organizations; workshops & trainings; collaborations with other organizations with similar missions.  Girls only programs operate in 11 cities nationally (specific cities, links, and more details on the website) with at least another 10 cities in spring 2016 being added.

GOLD Beyond City Limits, Mt. Erie
(Photo: Punneh Abdolhossei

YWCA GirlsFirst
Indira Bahner, Director of GirlsFirst
Leadership Development
1118 Fifth Ave.
Seattle, WA 981012
Ph. 206-709-7214 or 206-709-7216
Note: Year-long leadership and experiential program specifically designed for teen girls of color who face economic and social barriers to success. Girls begin the program the summer before their freshman year of high school and continue until the following summer. Participants also receive alumni programming and support throughout high school. Programming includes leadership development, mentoring, academic support, job readiness training, community service projects, paid summer internships and Outward Bound opportunities.

Women in the Outdoors (for girls ages 14 & up)
An Outreach Program of the
National Wild Turkey Federation
Teresa Carroll, Program Coordinator
Ph. 800-843-6983 OR 816-387-6606
Note: The Women in the Outdoors program provides educational outdoor opportunities for women (14 and older) all over the country while fulfilling the NWTF mission of preserving the hunt, educating future generations of conservationists and sharing our love of the outdoors with new audiences.

Rite of Passage Journeys
Mountain Quest: Coming of Age for Young Women

Cameron Withey, Program Director
P.O. Box 27559
Seattle, WA 98165
Ph. 425-485-7396
Note: The program explores the mountains and coast of the Olympic Peninsula, as well as exploring community and our own strengths and gifts! Laughter, sweat, creativity, reflection, and new friendships all come together as girls support each other through an experience of personal transformation.

A day kayaking on Tomales Bay with Kyra
Point Reyes National Seashore
(Photo: Nina S. Roberts)

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The Traveling School
Jennifer Royall, Head of School
P.O. Box 7058
Bozeman, MT 59771
Ph. 406-586-3096
Note: A 15-week program for girls ages 15-18 to participate in an overseas experience for an academic semester. Curriculum includes academics, overseas exploration, community development and service projects, and outdoor activities. Students earn credit for 7 semester courses.

Southern Africa Semester, Zambia
(Photo courtesy of The Traveling School)

Girls' Program of Women's Wilderness
2845 Wilderness Place, Suite 211
Boulder, CO 80301
Ph. 303-938-9191
Fax. 303-938-5071
Note: Their Girls’ Program is designed specifically to help girls ages 8-18 build courage, confidence, and leadership skills that will propel them to reach their highest potential. Courses are 1 to 10 days long. Women's Wilderness is AEE Accredited. Serves all income levels and financial aid is available for all girls courses.

Feet on the Earth
Lorene Wapotich, Founder & Director
PO Box 18302
Boulder, CO 80308
Ph. 303-642-0562
Note: Programs include wilderness experiences, the practice of Earth-living skills (a.k.a. "survival skills"), long-term nature-based mentoring, and Earth-based ceremony and crafts. Summer camps and school year programs that help girls build connection with nature, their authentic selves, and a community of female mentors and role models. Programs and training for women are also available.


Alpengirl Adventure Camp ~ "Girls with Altitude"
Alissa Farley, Director
PO Box 1138
Manhattan, MT 59741
Ph. 406-570-6312
Note: Alpengirl offers 1 or 2 week overnight multi-sport outdoor adventure camps to teen and pre-teen girls ages 11-16 in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Washington. Backpacking, yoga, horseback riding, surfing, rock climbing, rafting. Alpengirl offers a balanced mix of outdoor adventure, organic fitness and genuine friendship allowing each camper to blossom.

Alpengirl W ashington Girls Camp

Alpengirl Adventure Camp for Girls

Brown Girl Surf
2323 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94612
Inquire via online contact form
Brown Girl Surf is a movement that shifts societal narratives around girls and women of color in the outdoors. Our mission is to build a more diverse, environmentally reverent, and joyful women’s surf culture by increasing access to surfing, cultivating community, amplifying the voices of women of color surfers, and taking care of the earth.

Gaia Girls Passages
Sarai Shapiro, Founder and Director
San Francisco Bay Area
Ph. 510-508-7107
Note: Gaia Girls Passages provides circles of support, inspiration and encouragement through nature-based girls groups, summer camps, and individual rite of passage ceremonies for females ages 7-18 and their Mothers (or female care-givers) in the Bay Area of California.

Emily Teitsworth, Executive Director
Cori Coccia, Program Director
c/o The Women's Building
3543 18th Street #18
San Francisco, CA 94110
Ph. 415-864-0780
Fax 415-861-3464
Note: GirlVentures empowers adolescent girls to develop and express their strengths through outdoor adventure and leadership activities, GirlVentures’ courses help girls Live Healthy, Relate Wisely, and Lead Confidently through after-school mentored rock climbing courses and 7-14 day summer expeditions in wilderness areas where professional experiential educators guide girls in rock climbing, kayaking, backpacking as well as activities around social justice, identity and leadership.

Erica Cicero, Executive Director
165 Garcia
San Francisco, CA 94127
Ph. 415-681-9426
Note: This program offers wilderness experiences to strengthen relationships between adolescent girls and their parents

Maui Surfer Girls
Dustin Tester, Camp Founder
P.O. Box 1158
Puunene, HI 96784
Ph. 866-674-2002
Note: The mission is to empower girls through the sport of surfing and Maui adventure. Whether it be learning how to catch the warm waves of Maui or hiking through the beautiful West Maui Mountains, girls gain an enriched summer experience and sense of self at camp. They offer the smallest student to teacher ratio's (3:1) in the industry, to foster bonding, mentorship, and self-awareness at their surf camp. Be a part of the growing o'hana (family)!

Girls (ages 12-17) come from around the world to explore beauty of Maui each summer (Photo: Lauren Stripe)

Womanhood Inspirations
Rite of Passage Program for Girls
Bernadine Rosso & Terry Nail-Williams, Co-Founders
Ph. 831-345-9885
Note: Programs support teen girls, ages 13-17 years old, and their mothers, in the transition from young woman to woman. Through conversation and experiential education they explore the many changes that occur in adolescence and apply conversation and experiential education to what it means to be a healthy and balanced woman. Whether there are lifetime goals and dreams to integrate or by simply seeking a lifestyle to support a fulfilling life, the tools and activities incorporated fuel the passion and inspiration already present or bring to the surface what may be buried underneath waiting to be discovered.

Beckwourth Mountain Club and
Outdoor Education Center
"Girl Bonding"~ Rocky Mountain National Park
(Photo: Nina S. Roberts)

********** A Few Related Resources **********

Alliance For Girls (AFG)
Emma Mayerson, Executive Director
Ph. 510-629-9464
(Location: offices of Girls Inc. of Alameda County)
510 16th Street, Suite 100
Oakland, CA 94612
Note: AFG champions the leaders and organizations that empower and support Bay Area girls through advocacy, research, professional development and collaboration. AFG is an association of 100+ Bay Area organizations and leaders serving 216,000 girls, and serves as convener, educator and advocate for girls and the organizational leaders that serve them. We envision a world where a girl's worth is determined by her mind and spirit, her body is safe and a source of joy, and the sky is her limit

Girls Equitable Treatment Coalition
899 Logan Street, Suite 600
Denver, CO 80203
Ph. 970-221-3676
Note: Part of the CO Division of Criminal Justice, G.E.T. advocates for girls in the juvenile justice system. They provide training and programming appropriate to female youth.

Girls, Inc.
120 Wall Street
New York, NY 10005
Ph. 212-509-2000
Note: Inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold through direct service and advocacy. Comprehensive approach to whole girl development equips girls to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers and grow up healthy, educated, and independent. Informed by girls and their families, they also advocate for legislation and policies to increase opportunities for all girls.

Girls Leadership
Simone Marean, Co-Founder & Executive Director
111 Myrtle Street, Suite 101
Oakland, CA 94607
Ph. 866-744-9102
Fax 410-558-6673
Note: Co-founded by bestselling author and girl-expert Rachel Simmons and dynamic speaker Simone Marean. This nat'l organization inspires girls to be true to themselves. By teaching the practices of emotional intelligence, assertive self-expression and healthy relationships, Girls Leadership teaches girls the skills to be brave, resilient, and connected. Programs include: Overnight Summer Camp (grades 6-12), Day Camps (grades 4-5), & Parent/ Daughter Workshops (for grades K-8) in CA, NJ, NY, and CO. All courses use interactive, hands-on lessons and are progressive, following girls’ developmental needs from grade school through H.S.
Girls Leadership Photo Archives 2014: Mount Holyoke College
South Hadley, MA

Girls Leadership Worldwide
P.O. Box 255
Hyde Park, NY 12538
Ph. 845-229-5302
Note: Girls’ Leadership Worldwide (GLW)—the 9-day transformational program that empowers high-school girls to make a difference in their own lives, communities, and the world! Using Eleanor Roosevelt’s life and legacy as a model, the program brings girls diverse in culture and geography together and transforms them into principled and socially conscious leaders. Participants stay together at Vassar College and experience interactive workshops, inspiring speakers, and field trips to New York City all while building supportive and lasting relationships with mentors and peers.

Girls on the Run International
500 East Morehead Street, Suite 104
Charlotte, NC 28202
Ph. 800-901-9965/704-376-9817
Fax 704-376-1039
Note: Non-competitive, after school program that is ten weeks in length, combining physical activity (running) a experiential learning through a psychology based curriculum to teach very specific and well-defined social and personal (character development) skills.

Girl Scouts of the USA
420 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10018-2798
Ph. (800) 478-7248 or (212) 852-8000

GO! Girls Outdoors
Marjorie Morgan
Ph. +61429708134 (Australia)
Note: A resource for women in outdoor education and recreation. This oustanding resource is for women who work and/or participate in outdoor adventure activities. It features a series of profiles of inspirational outdoor women, organisations that cater to women, trips and events, a discussion forum, lists of resources and a blog. The site is regularly updated.

International Center for Research on Women
1120 20th St., NW, Suite 500 N
Washington, D.C. 20036
Note: ICRW is an international organization that works alongside partners across the globe. Our work begins and ends in communities because we know that when given the opportunities, women and girls have the power to change their world. Through our two strategic hubs in Africa and Asia, our local staff are engaged in research, programs and policy advocacy at the regional level..

Nurture Through Nature Green Retreat Center
Women's Holistic Canoe Trips, Eco-Cabin Rentals, Holistic Nature Retreats, Custom Getaways
Jen Deraspe, Owner
Ph. 207-452-2929
Note: Opportunities for women to rejuvenate and reflect. We offer mindfulness practices to clear the mind through: Yoga, the Work of Byron Katie, and guided meditations woven into unique retreats and gentle nature explorations incorporated to integrate body and spirit. Wilderness Maine Guide services on site including guided canoeing, kayaking, snowshoeing and hiking. Safe space offered for reflection and restoration in the natural world, deepening connection to the living earth and all of its dependents, including ourselves. Custom retreats available for teens, mothers and daughters, friend circles and more.

Northwest Girls Coalition
P.O. Box 9525
Seattle, WA 98109-9525
Note: The organizational vision is to ensure a healthy, supportive environment for all girls to realize their full potential. Their mission is to strengthen the girl-serving community by fostering education and collaboration in the Puget Sound region.

Oasis For Girls, A project of The Tides Center
Jessica Van Tuyl, Executive Director
1091 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Ph. 415-701-7991
Fax 415-701-0131
Note: Founded in 1999, the mission of Oasis For Girls is to partner with girls and young women of color from under-resourced communities in San Francisco to help them cultivate the skills, knowledge, and confidence to discover their dreams and build strong futures.


Culminating a great week together on the Green River
Moab, UT

(Photo: Courtesy of "Nurture through Nature")

Camber Outdoors
(Formerly Outdoor Industry Women's Coalition)
PO Box 7203
Boulder, Colorado 80306
Ph: 513-202-6492
Fx: 877-686-6492
Note: Founded in 1996, Camber Outdoors envisions a future of “Everyone’s Outdoors.” It is the only national organization dedicated to achieving equality for all women in the outdoors, from backcountry to boardroom through innovative and thought-leading programming and initiatives. Over 170 corporate and 4,000 individual members support Camber Outdoors.

Strozzi Institute
Women's School of Embodied Leadership
Susie Nichols, Strozzi Associate
4101 Middle Two Rock Rd.
Petaluma CA, 94952
Ph. 707-778-6505
Note: Specially designed program for young women, 15-18 years of age, during summer months. This School of Embodied Leadership Training focuses on increasing girls' awareness of their somatic self (internal sensing/whole self) and connecting physical practices with the development of self and their ability to take effective action in the world to produce the results they intend.

Student Conservation Association
High School/Youth Conservation Crews
Recruitment Department
P.O. Box 550
Charlestown, NH 03603
Ph. 603-543-1700
Fax 603-543-1828
Note: SCA works with high school girls (ages 15-19) through co-educational crew opportunities. Students gain wilderness skills, enjoy outdoor adventures, build hiking trails, and restore habitats back to their natural states. It's time for real adventures, real challenges, and making a real difference. Crew members live and serve in national parks, forests, and other public lands for a 4-5 week summer program. Develop leadership skills and get real experience for your future!

Women’s Adventure magazine
Michelle Theall, Founder
Jennifer Olson, Editor-In-Chief
3005 Center Green Drive, Suite 225
Boulder, CO 80301
Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Fishing trip, The Isle of Palms, South Carolina
The intercoastal waterway (Photo: Alyssa Roberts)

Women's Funding Alliance
2101 Fourth Ave., Suite 1330
Seattle, WA 98121
Ph: 206-467-6733
Fax: 206-467-7537
Note: Envisions a world where all women and girls have the opportunity to live, lead and thrive.Their mission is to advance leadership and economic opportunity for women and girls in Washington State. They accomplish this by making the case, driving solutions and mobilizing people to make change.

Women, Girls, and Education
Women's Studies Links of the Association of
College and Research Libraries
Note: Links for curriculum, pedagogy, research, periodicals, funding, issues, discussion lists, and more.

Kayaking on Tomales Bay, Point Reyes National Seashore
(Photo: Nina Roberts)

Learn How To Become
Kim Williams
Director of Communications
P.O. Box 77012
San Francisco, CA 94107
Note: A comprehensive career resource with a mission to help students and aspiring professionals understand what it takes to land their perfect career. Sample resources available:
Powerful Women Rule: Under-represented Careers Guidebook
College Financial Aid: Women Specific Scholarships and Financial Resources
Overcoming the Gender Bias - Closing the Gender Gap Guidebook

This document is not intended to be exhaustive, rather provide an at-a-glance resource list to people seeking program models and/or resources to assist with programming for adolescent girls in the outdoors.

Submit corrections and additions to this list:
Nina S. Roberts via email: ns_roberts@earthlink.net

Updated: 3/31/2018
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