I can't wait for you to see the 50 pictures below. Exactly one month ago, something special happened.
150 women woke up - some as early as 4am - hopped on a plane and flew to the mile-high city of Denver, Colorado for the adventure of a lifetime.
They are our best-kept secret. A force. A mighty service corps. ...among the brightest minds, biggest hearts. These women...
...have big vision! ...a mighty dream! ...of putting in the work to save their own lives, inspire others and ignite a health movement across America.
Together, we will establish a new Saturday tradition.
...to reclaim the streets of our neighborhoods - walking, talking, solving, healing - together. This health crisis ain't nothing compared to the road we'vetraveled. In the footsteps of a Civil Rights legacy, GirlTrek's mission is to activate Black women as changemakers in their lives and communities - through walking.
GirlTrek made a BIG bet. We put all our eggs in one basket. The bold idea. What if we trained 1000 women to lead a grassroots movement and public health takeover of Black communities across the country?
We're on it! GirlTrek is committed to training a service corps of 1000 organizers by the end of 2016. The corps will drive the mission. They will be certified experts in key fields like fitness leadership and outdoor trip leadership. They will stand as front-line disease disruptors, public health paparazzi, living, breathing role models. This is about TOTAL healing, and we will inspire one million women to join us by 2018!
...so who ARE these women? They are nurses, doctors, soldiers, teachers, principals, pastors, activists and artists. They are daughters, mothers and grandmothers. Round-the-way AND Ivy League. They are movers, shakers, public servants and boundary breakers.
We searched high and low for each and every one of them. Do you remember back in May, when we asked for YOUR help?! You responded with introductions and nominations. Our partners pitched in too. We have representatives from most church denominations, sororities, civic organizations and major housing communities. Each of these women has the rallying-power of Ella Baker, the reliability of Harriet Tubman, the resilience of Sojourner Truth, the readiness of Fannie Lou...and we made for dang sure that each woman was, really, really kind and caring like Septima Clark. We think our foremothers would be proud.
[If you know of a woman we missed - perhaps YOU - hit us up with her name and contact information at firstname.lastname@example.org
. There are more trainings scheduled next spring!]
So this is what happened...
We spent hours learning risk management, the physiology of walking, intervention for exercise-induced emergencies - we even got CPR certification! We built a strong sense of cohort by pushing passed fear in high ropes courses and night hikes. We practiced self-care and service for 5 days and it was nothing short of life-changing. Lastly, the GirlTrek training would not be complete if it did not include a signature 7-mile hike to a alpine lake at 10,000 feet of elevation! Wheeeeew! We put in the work.
Instead of giving you the full play-by-play, we'd like to offer you 50 images that speak more loudly than we could ever speak - of the promise that 1000 women will make transformative impact in our neighborhoods in 2018. These sisters are just the beginning. 150 trained. 850 to go!
All Photos (c) 2015 GirlTrek, Photo Credit Bree Gant and China Moore
Our team taught grassroots organizing 101 and GirlTrek history and values. We were joined by a world-class faculty! They are the best in their respective fields and represent industry-leading organizations like the American Council on Exercise and the Sierra Club. We would like to offer a heart-felt thank you to each and every one of them! We love you guys!!!!
We can't wait to continue to build.
Morgan and Vanessa