Eight tips for girls getting outside

Darcy Gaechter inspires girls to get outside on Breaking Glass

Darcy Gaechter is the first woman to kayak the Amazon River from source to sea. Darcy has been whitewater kayaking for twenty-one years and, for the past fifteen years, she has been considered one of the world’s best female kayakers and one of the most accomplished expedition kayakers. She has won whitewater kayaking races throughout the world, and has participated in, and led, kayaking expeditions in eighteen different countries. But it wasn’t always this way. 

Shy and soft spoken, Darcy didn’t sit down in a kayak until she was 19 years-old and didn’t immediately take to the sport. It was sheer stubbornness and a reluctance to quit that drove her to the top. Since then she has faced every gender stereotype and shattered one of the highest glass ceilings in the industry. A role model for female athletes and outdoor enthusiasts, Darcy shares eight tips for girls getting outside:

  1. Try something new – Darcy didn’t start kayaking until she was 19 years-old. If we learn anything, let it be to take risks and push yourself to try a new sport.
  2. Stay stubborn– There will always be people telling girls that they can’t do something, that they aren’t strong enough. Find a way to tune those voices out.
  3. Look for the women – Today there are women at the top of nearly every sport. If you look hard enough you can find a female athlete who is crushing it.
  4. Don’t be afraid to fail – Getting outside and learning any new sport will require making mistakes and falling on your face. Darcy reminds us to get back up.
  5. Pick your partners wisely – Look for the partners – male or female – who encourage you, support you, and who celebrate your success. Stick with them.
  6. Take a class – Many outdoor centers offer women-led, women-only courses for different sports. Do some research and learn alongside other determined women.
  7. Connect with other women – Social media makes it easier than ever to follow the accounts of female athletes and join female-focused communities with other women. Find your people.
  8. Outsmart them – Train your body and your mind. You’ll need both in any outdoor sport. When you couple physical strength with mental resolve and problem-solving skills, there’s nothing you can’t do.

If we learned anything from Darcy, it is that girls need not be intimidated by outdoor sports. She was told she couldn’t do it because she’s a woman, because she’s short and petite and shy, and she’s proven everyone wrong. Anytime someone told her it couldn’t be done, she persevered and that’s exactly what we need more girls and women to do in order to change the gender dynamics in numerous industries, including outdoor sports.

Listen to Darcy on Breaking Glass