Outdoors Great Southern will start a series of subsidised hiking, mountain biking, paddling, trail running and camping activities for women from the end of this month (July).
The Great Southern Women’s Adventure Network program, coined GSWAN, is offered thanks to funding from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries in response to a clear demand for women's active outdoor programs in recent years.
GSWAN is open to women 18+ in the Great Southern region and aims to grow women’s skills and confidence in outdoor activities – hiking, mountain biking, trail running, paddling (canoe and kayak), and camping – while providing pathways to ongoing active participation.
Outdoors Great Southern Acting CEO Simon Barras said the activities would teach participants practical skills associated with outdoor recreation activities.
"It's clear that there are currently limited opportunities for women to attend skills development workshops in the Great Southern and few organised recreation events of this nature.
"The team is really looking forward to providing ongoing opportunities for participation through a series of monthly events where women can practice and develop their skills, gaining confidence and building social networks as they enjoy outdoor recreation," Mr Barras said.
Programs will be delivered in a series of beginner, intermediate and advanced workshops as well as monthly participation events that gradually increase in the level of difficulty over the year. Workshop topics will incorporate activity-based skills as well as first aid, navigation, biodiversity, conservation, and Noongar culture.
"We'd like for participants to enjoy building a sense of belonging to the environment and cultural understanding.
"The activities will allow participants to practice their new skills, meet like-minded people, all while learning about the region and its trails and landscapes."
While final dates, costs and workshop venues are yet to be determined, women aged 18+ were welcome to express their interest in any activities via this link.
Trail running activities will be the first program offered with experienced local trail runners conducting a series of sessions on 31 July, 14, 28 August and 11 September. A hiking & camping program will follow in October/November.
"Registering your interest allows us to collect your name and email address so we can send information on each program directly to you as it becomes available.
"We're looking forward to offering more programs than ever in the second half of this year," said Mr Barras.
GSWAN joins the growing list of programs offered at Outdoors Great Southern, including:
• Kids Adventure Club, which has only a few spaces left for the Term Three program for years 4-6, starts on 7 August. Activities this term include camping essentials, bushwalking, fishing, meal prep and cooking over a campfire.
• Trail Carers is an ongoing program where volunteers register to be invited to trail stewardship activities as they arise. The sociable nature of the group has already proved popular, with a group of 16 group members regularly participating in trail maintenance activities at locations such Luke Penn Trail.
For more information about individual programs, please register your interest here.