BENEFITING: ASCEND - LEADERSHIP THROUGH ATHLETICS INC
EVENT DATE: Jun 30, 2016
My name is Rachel, and I am a professional big mountain and backcountry skier from Washington State. I am always searching for ways to combine my passion for skiing with my desire to address various social issues, particularly in the Global South. When I heard about the work being done by the dedicated people at Ascend Athletics, I knew I had to get involved.
Ascend Athletics is a registered 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization based in Norfolk, Virginia. The organization aims to unite and empower young women in war-torn parts of the Global South through adventure and athletics. In their first year of programming, Ascend's devoted guides spent months training and leading a group of thirteen teenage girls on a mountaineering expedition in Afghanistan. The expedition defied countless social norms, and helped these young women develop valuable leadership and conflict resolution skills. Ascend inspires young mountaineers to apply their new skills to the problems facing their communities, perpetuating meaningful social change. Ascend’s founder, Marina LeGree, explains,
“[Ascend’s pilot program] uses mountain climbing as a vehicle to cultivate unity and a sense of shared achievement among Afghan women of different ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic groups…This environment fosters a camaraderie rarely experienced in a culture where women have little opportunity to build relations with one another outside of the family structure, or beyond their own socio-economic or ethnic background.”
I believe that mountain adventure strongly encourages personal growth, in a setting that requires cooperation and togetherness. To encourage the efforts of Ascend and the driven young women they support, I will be fundraising to help Ascend cover some essential costs of their programs. During the month of June, I plan to climb and ski as much as possible to raise awareness and funds for this great cause. The funds raised will go directly to Ascend’s current and future programs. I will accept flat donations, as well as pledges (per 1,000 feet I climb and ski) during the month-long period.