WOW! Women On Water
Women on water (WOW) is a Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition program. More than outdoor education, WOW is aimed at bringing women of all ages together on their local rivers to learn white water skills, build self esteem, learn about local conservation issues and inspire and encourage one another as community leaders.
2022 will be the twelfth season running Women on Water but with a new Smithers program added. The programs have grown into well-recognized watershed-wide programs that are striving to educate and inspire the decison makers of tomorrow. The mandate of WOW is to engage women from the Skeena watershed in conservation education, job skills training and physical activity through a whitewater based rafting program. Above all else, these programs intend to empower the youth and women of our watershed community to become stewards of their birthright; a clean, culturally significant and ecologically resilient Skeena River.
This coming summer the programs will run in two communties on the following dates:
Terrace: July 5 & 6
Smithers: July 28 & 29
Hazelton: Aug 1 & 2
Why take women out on the water?
Why not?! Here in the Skeena watershed women are naturally looked to as leaders and most local first nations peoples are matrilineal. We know that women here play a significant role in the health and sustainability of their communities and that's why we're so passionate about passing on skills and knowledge to our wonderful watershed ladies!
We truly believe that this program, which empowers women and allows them to gain confidence and leadership skills in a supportive environment, will help us move our communities towards a positive and sustainable future.
What do we get up to out on the rivers?
The WOW program is designed to inspire women about their watershed by providing valuable raft and swift water skills while educating them about local environmental issues.
We take groups of women out for five days onto some of the wildest and greatest rivers in BC where they learn water safety, gain knowledge on environmental issues in their watershed from local experts, build confidence by taking on physical and emotional challenges and have TONS of fun!
While the programs vary based on the needs of the women in the group, the program is focused around the following areas:
- White water skills training
- Conservation and economic issues in the watershed
- Self esteem building, leadership
- First Nations history and culture
- Fish, wildlife and regional environment – guest speakers
How do we do it?
The Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition is dedicated to ensuring that the WOW program remains FREE to participants.
The success of the WOW program is a testament to the unwavering support of our community: First Nations partnerships, generous donations and sponsorship from SWCC members, the unwavering commitment of SWCC staff and volunteers, and of course, our awesome WOW participants!
Teaching the teachers
One thing we've learned is that women love to share their experiences. The women of our watershed are natural teachers and are one of the most powerful tools for educating our communities about the value of our rivers and waterways and their need to be protected. Our participants share their WOW moments with mothers and sisters, aunts and grandmothers and of course their husbands and children and in this way we are proud to be teaching the teachers through our program.
The way in which the Women On Water program has helped grow our Youth On Water Program has been astounding. But come to think of it, why are we surprised? What teenager is going to chicken out of a white water rafting trip after their Granny has done it? Uh, none that we know of!
What do the women say about WOW?
The experience of the participants in this program has been overwhelmingly positive. The women spoke of gaining confidence in ways they had never imagined as they learned water skills and built relationships on the river. Many women felt the experience was life changing!
"The experience was so great for facing my fears and for building relationships between women while travelling on the water." Says Marilyn George, a Gitxsan woman who lives in Telkwa B.C. "For me it was the first time I'd been on the rivers. The supportive environment of having other women there as you face your fears on the white water or jumping into the river was so powerful. I think this is just an amazing program for helping women to bring these issues to the forefront, taking physical and emotional leaps at the same time."
Love it? Want to be a part of it? Want to donate?
Women on Water is a Small Change recipient! Yay! This means that you can contribute and help us reach our funding goal for this amazing program by simply clicking the button below and donating online!
Contact us for more information:
Email SWCC or Phone our office at 250-842-2494
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