Walk With Me

Walk With Me is a free outdoor-based program offering activities for women and gender diverse people who have actively worked to heal from violence or abuse experienced at any time during their life. Through shared outdoor experiences in a supportive environment, our aim is to increase quality of life through connection, compassion, resilience, and leadership.

Walk With Me programs are for women, trans and non binary folks who are in the
process of healing from any type of abuse or violence. These experiences may have
occurred at any stage of life. Participants are given the opportunity to explore
beyond their own perceived limitations alongside other survivors, including some
of the Trip Leaders. Through fully funded day trips, wilderness workshops, and
overnight trips, participants are brought together to share a powerful experience
surrounded by the beauty and serenity of the natural world. Intended to reinforce
the process of therapy or self-healing, Walk With Me can provide a catalyst for further growth and change.

The Activities

Throughout the seasons–spring, summer, winter, and fall–participants will be able to sign up for day trips such as canoeing, hiking, snowshoeing, biking, or climbing. These will range from 2-6 hours in length and also include art activities, plant identification, and empowerment exercises. After attending 2-3 of these day programs, participants will be welcome to join an optional 5-day overnight camping trip. All activities will acknowledge our respect for, and deep gratitude to, all the ancestors and keepers of the land on whose traditional territories we are honoured to live, work, and play.

Participants

Walk With Me brings together female and gender diverse (trans, non-binary, gender fluid, agender) survivors of abuse or violence. This may include any unwanted sexual acts, physical intimidation, or pattern of financial, spiritual, mental or emotional degradation, coercion, or control. Participants are 19+ years old, from all walks of life, and living in the West Kootenays. Walk With Me is designed for those who have participated in group or individual counseling, healing circles, support recovery, or other programs or self-directed journeys toward healing. Participants must be in a safe and stable place in their lives and ready to take the next step towards empowerment. Through a written application process, and either a referral from a support worker or phone conversation with one of the Trip Leaders, we will ensure each applicant is physically and emotionally ready for a successful group and individual experience.

Your Instructors

Female staff teams of skilled instructors provide valuable leadership and outdoor
experience. Each is trained in advanced wilderness first aid, has extensive experience outdoors and leading groups, as well as their own lived expertise. The instructors lead participants through a progression of activities designed for participant growth and empowerment. Staff are trained in trauma-informed practice, gender diversity and inclusivity, harm reduction, and cultural safety.

We will also have the honour of a local Elder supporting some aspects of our trips.

Equipment and Food

Participants do not need to invest in expensive gear for Walk With Me programs. We provide equipment for the day trips such as snowshoes, canoeing gear, and climbing equipment. The overnight trip will include tents, packs, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, and group gear like stoves. We provide food on the overnight trips.

Location

Walk With Me programs are run in the mountains, lakes, and forests of the West Kootenays. Throughout the year we will visit a variety of different locations.

Health and Fitness

Women of all ages, sizes, abilities and fitness levels are encouraged to join Walk With Me. Participants require basic physical and emotional health, but don’t need to already be active, let alone athletic. All participants are asked to complete a medical form prior to the start of course so we can support you with any health needs. Participants do not need previous outdoor or camping experience.

Financial Assistance

Funding generously provided by the Columbia Basin Trust, Osprey Foundation, Art for the People, and the Hamber Foundation allows us to offer these trips free of charge. Stipends for childcare and transportation are also available, if that is a barrier to participation.

How to Sign Up

Click the button above to apply online.

Click the button above to get a prinatable application.

If you are looking at this webpage on someone else’s computer, you can scan the QR code above to get the application onto your phone.

If you have a support worker, you can also ask them to print it for you.

Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis!

Outings begin in April 2022, please get your applications in by March 10th if you’d like to be part of the first group!

Updates

As the winter snows melt away and we begin to welcome new growth in many ways, Walk With Me completed two very successful trips.  Below are some reflections from the participants.

Strawberry Pass trip participant reflections

“I recently participated in a guided snowshoe trip with the Walk With Me program. The morning of the excursion I was feeling a lot of hesitancy and anxiety. Being in groups and meeting new people is out of my comfort zone and I was also concerned about my current level of fitness. I managed to pack my day pack, tie up my boots and drag myself to the meeting spot. I was immediately met with friendly and welcoming faces. The weather was a mix of cloud and shine, the beauty of the area was breathtaking. The opening circle was very uniting and set a tone of gratitude and appreciation for the day. I felt like the facilitators made a great effort to ensure everyone felt safe and confident, and set the pace to accommodate all of our skill levels and endurance. Great conversations were had, I felt heard and accepted. My takeaway was that I can challenge myself and gain valuable memories. I will definitely be signing on to future trips”

Busk Snowshoeing trip participant reflections

What did you learn about yourself? “ I’m not weird, I can talk about my internal process of trauma and recovery and feel understood and supported.”

Upcoming Trip Schedule

June 7th Canyon Lookout Hike (2-3 hours)

August 6th Old Growth Forest Hike (3-4 hours)

August 10th Intro to Canoeing trip (3-4 hours)

September 11-12th Slocan Rail Trail Overnight Bike trip 
(We will help you find camping/biking gear if you don’t have access to any.)

More details will be sent to you a few weeks prior to the trip if you have gone through the application process.  If you haven’t, please link here for the applications.

Questions?

Social service workers, please print these to distribute and post: