Alpine Club of Canada

Winter Gazette 2013

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Educated women climb for girls' education The team gathers for a shot on Mount Albert Edward's summit. From left, Jennifer Boldt, Mary Thiess, Vanessa Hodes, Valeria Vergara, Lenka Visnovska, Robyn Forrest, Vivian Addison, Karen Hunter, Amelia Mahony, Barb Campbell, Janelle Curtis, Patricia Elliott and Madelene Daniel. photo by Robyn Forrest by Janelle M Curtis y first experience with the Alpine Club of Canada was learning the basics of glacier travel during the Vancouver Island Section's Introduction to Mountaineering course. Since then, I have come to deeply appreciate the ACC VI's family of moun‑ taineering mentors who volunteer their time leading trips and creating opportun‑ ities to share their joy of the mountains, impart knowledge and promote learning. Indeed, education features prominently on the ACC VI's schedule. I joined the ACC VI when I began working at the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo, BC. There I met my col‑ league, close friend and outdoor buddy, Robyn Forrest. As research scientists, we spend our days learning about the natural world and providing science advice, and we owe our exciting careers to myriad opportunities afforded to us through our education. When Robyn suggested we organize a climb to raise funds for the education of girls, not only was it a natural fit for the ACC VI schedule, it was another exciting opportunity to combine our passions for wilderness and learning. Together we decided to raise funds for Plan Canada's initiative Because I am a Girl (BIAAG http://becauseiamagirl.ca). We soon learned that BIAAG is a global phenomenon that empowers women and girls and promotes gender equality and girls' rights. In many countries, girls are more likely to live in poverty, to be undernourished, and to be denied access to education simply because they are girls. But educated girls have tremendous power for global change because they The VI Section Because I am a Girl fundraising team approaches Mount Albert Edward's ridge in Strathcona Provincial Park. hoto by Janelle Curtis p are also more likely to reinvest what they have into their families and communities. We selected Mount Albert Edward in Strathcona Provincial Park as our fundraising climb because of its promin‑ ence as a Vancouver Island landmark, its accessibility to novice hikers and experi‑ enced mountaineers alike, and because its long and sweeping ridgeline symbolised for us the gradual and steady progress people are making globally to draw attention to and address the "Girl Issue". The three-day, 32-kilometre round-trip we planned for Sept. 20-22 involved approaching the summit on day two from Circlet Lake, where we camped for two nights. We set our initial fundraising goal at $6,867, representing one dollar for each foot in the summit's elevation and the equivalent to twenty-two $300 schol‑ arships, each of which can support a girl in school for a year. We used Climb for Change (www.climbforchange.com/) as a platform for fundraising and online promotion of our team. Climb for Change works with fundraising teams around the world to develop and promote webpages for charity climbs. They were tremendously supportive of our proposed event and worked closely with Robyn to help design our campaign page, link the page to social media (Facebook, Twitter), and establish an online portal for making secure donations directly to the BIAAG Girls' Scholarship Initiative. Once our fundraising and climbing goals were defined and our campaign strategy developed, we began building a team of women who shared our passions

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