In July 2018, Sisterhood Boutique took a group of young women to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. This was the third year the Sisterhood has facilitated an expedition in lead by Big City Mountaineers.
On this trip, youth camped for 8 days, paddled 39 miles, and portaged 350 rods where they carried 80 pound canoes on their shoulders and 50 pound bags on their backs.
These expeditions are meant to introduce youth to the outdoors (especially young East African women) through backcountry camping and canoeing where they are taught how to be independent in the wilderness. Youth learn technical skills including how to set up a tent, purify water, cook and clean outside, and paddle a canoe—all while making sure to take care of the land and ‘leave no trace’ in the process. While developing these hands-on skills, youth are simultaneously enhancing their communication and leadership skills, pushing themselves to new limits, and experiencing what it means to work as a teamwork at a whole new level.
It was a life changing experience for many of the young women:
“It was a nice trip. I never used to enjoy nature like that. I always used to ignore it and stay in my house. But now I learned the real meaning of being outdoors and it’s actually pretty fun.” Sara, 13
“I learned that after some hardship, there comes an ease. After going through some really tough situations, we came across a nice place to stay, played a little, had a swim in a cool lake, walked on a beach, experienced something new.” Fardowza, 17