Inspire, Equip, Enable
Our inaugural Be Fearless event was a half-day event held on March 10 which included a panel session of female adventurers and interactive workshops, hosted at Griffith University Southport, to inspire and equip young women (approx.17-23 years) with knowledge and skills to participate in the South-East Queensland outdoors.
Why Be Fearless?
Active participation in outdoor recreation has direct links with social, physical and mental wellbeing [1-4]. However, women and girls remain underrepresented in participation statistics . We know there are a range of barriers to women and girls active participation, but two key areas include: i) a lack of female role models in the promotion of outdoor recreation activities, and ii) the typical focus of the promotion of women’s participation as passive, not active , amongst others. QORF designed Be Fearless to target these two key barriers.
Our event concept
This event was designed to meet the needs of our target group through elements which included:
- Provision of an enabling environment for young women, including positive role models and interactive workshops commensurate to participant abilities;
- Showcasing and connecting with entry-level outdoor activities which suit the life stage of this group – i.e. flexible unstructured activities, social interaction and enjoyment over competition, intergenerational and family-based activity, and in many cases low pre-requisites for fitness and skills;
- Griffith University was chosen a convenient and accessible venue, also frequented by our target group.
See here for the Be Fearless Program
We must extend a huge thank you to our presenters and workshop facilitators who helped us realise our vision for the day, and were engaging, supportive and saw our participants leave inspired to #befearless in our Queensland outdoors.
Was it effective?
While we didn’t hit our target participant numbers, we know the people that did attend were the people we wanted in the room – women of a range of ages wanting to find out more and learn new skills to get active in the outdoors more regularly.
Our event evaluation tells us:
- All participants felt they learnt something about the connection between wellbeing and the outdoors
- Participants were highly inspired to try a new outdoor activity (average rating 4.5/5)
- The majority of participants reported learning new outdoor skills
- Participants were highly confident to try a new outdoor activity
- The key highlights of the event for participants were (top 3 based on number of similar comments):
- Opportunities to interact/connect with others
- Meeting inspiring women in the outdoors
- Practical workshops (both being practical in nature, and also the range on offer)
- The key things participants would like to see next time are (top 3 based on number of similar comments) :
- More active and interactive workshops (the ability to move around, empowering activities, workshop ideas: cooking and setting up a tent)
- Organised activities to sign up to (organised hikes/tripes, local opportunities/clubs to join, recommended websites for further information)
- More fellow participants, but maintaining small group atmosphere
- Participants rated their overall experience of the event highly, with the average rating 4.5/5, the lowest rating received for this question was 4/5.
In addition, our QORF team also observed the unintended benefit that the event provided women working in the outdoors to network and catch up. Overall we believe we have a proof of concept and a strong foundation moving forward.
Where to next?
We are currently doing a follow-up survey with attendees from our Be Fearless event to help us assess the ongoing impacts of the event, and identify key areas to refine and develop into the future. We are now looking to our next event, as well as understanding the additional value-adds that QORF can facilitate to contribute meaningfully and sustainably to Queensland women and girls’ participation in our outdoors.
- Boniface, M., The meaning of adventurous activities for ‘women in the outdoors’. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 2007. 6(1): p. 9-24.
- Network, C.R. A Countryside for Health and Wellbeing: The Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Green Exercise. 2006 [cited 2017 October 18]; Available from: http://www.thehealthwell.info/node/3900
- Hennigen, K., Therapeutic Potential of Time in Nature: Implications for Body Image in Women. Ecopsychology, 2010. 2(3): p. 135-140.
- Abraham, A., K. Sommerhalder, and T. Abel, Landscape and well-being: A scoping study on the health-promoting impact of outdoor environments. International Journal of Public Health, 2009. 55(1): p. 59-69.
- Hinds, A., J. Gordon, and L. Crouch, Queensland Sport, Exercise and Recreation Survey Adults. 2016, Colmar Brunton for Queensland Government Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing: Brisbane, Queensland.
- McNeil, J., D. Harris, and K. Fondren, Women and the Wild: Gender Socialization in Wilderness Recreation Advertising. Gender Issues, 2012. 29(1-4): p. 39-55.