Empowering Women to Explore the Great Outdoors
Looking to explore the great outdoors, but feeling held back? Meet Adventure Queens, a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2017 by professional adventurer Anna McNuff and Emma Frampton.
Feeling that women were underrepresented in the adventure space and facing specific barriers to getting outdoors, Adventure Queens was set up to empower women to go on outdoor adventures and reach their full potential. From a lack of confidence and support to safety concerns and difficulty finding well-fitting gear, Adventure Queens works to address the unique barriers that women face when it comes to adventuring.
With over 14,000 members and 25 regional groups in the UK, as well as international groups, Adventure Queens provides a supportive community and the resources to help women of all experience levels to get outside and explore.
In 2021, the leadership baton was passed to Nadia Weigh and Kate Garner as Community Co-Leaders, marking a new chapter in the community’s continued growth and impact.
We talked to Adventure Queens Community Leader Nadia Weigh to find out more…
What does the outdoors mean to you?
At Adventure Queens, we passionately believe that adventures in the outdoors, where you are pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone can have an incredibly positive impact. For me personally, when I am outdoors it just feels like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I love watching the seasons change and seeing the changes in nature. My favourite time of year is Spring when everything comes alive, and my local river is filled with ducklings and goslings. I love walking, swimming and camping, but my big passion now is kayaking. This time of year, I am on the water most days of the week. I also love winter kayaking – adapting to various levels of flow, ice and the eternal question of “am I wearing enough layers?!”
As an Adventure Queens Community Leader, what do you do?
I set the strategic direction of the organisation and work to develop partnerships with organisations and brands that are aligned with our mission. I also manage a wonderful team of 60 volunteers!
The reality of any small organisation is that I end up getting involved in lots of different things which keeps it nice and varied. Yesterday for example, I did everything from writing a report for an upcoming directors meeting, proofreading a blog post, creating some graphics for our merchandise launch, updating our website and liaising with a partner organisation we are working with to deliver a Hills Skills project for refugee women.
I can honestly say I absolutely love being a part of Adventure Queens – so much so that I’ve taken a one year unpaid sabbatical from my day job so I can focus on it full-time! It is incredibly rewarding to work with such an inspirational team of volunteers, and to see the impact that Adventure Queens has on individual women. As a community, we are here to empower women to get outside and enable them to take on their own personal adventures – one of the ways we are doing this is through our Adventure Queens Grant scheme.
What is the Adventure Queens Grant?
The Adventure Queens Grant scheme is our way of helping women take on their first big human-powered, life-changing adventure by providing the means for them to do so. In addition to mentoring support from Adventure Queens, this year we have partnered with Osprey, Eddie Bauer, Komoot and Adventurous Ink to provide three grant winners with the funding and gear needed to support their adventure.
In memory of our longest serving volunteer Jessi Tucker, one of these grant spots is allocated to a woman who wants to use their proposed adventure to connect with nature.
This year we had almost 200 applications for the Adventure Queens Grant! It was tough to select just a few grant winners from so many worthy applications, but three winning applications really stood out to us:
Vicky will cross the Arctic with a bike and a sketch pad! Specifically, she will bikepack from Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland, to Alta, a Norwegian town on the edge of the Arctic Ocean. Taking mostly gravel roads, she will cover 610 km over 10 days.
Jo will solo walk from coast to coast across England, walking each night and camping during the day. Jo wants to raise awareness of the fear women have of being alone in the dark, to explore why that is and find some tools and tips to journey through it.
This summer, Natasha is planning a multi-day solo paddleboarding trip in Finland. Starting in Helsinki, she will explore the Eastern archipelago around the city which comprises 330 islands. As a mother of children with additional needs, Natasha SUPs for her mental health and finds being on the water brings her peace.
What is next for Adventure Queens?
We have loads coming up! We have our big national campout coming up in June and each month our regional groups run at least a dozen events. We are also excited to be running three new pilot projects in 2023:
A hills skills project working with women survivors of domestic violence, building their confidence and skills to be active outdoors.
A “getting into hiking” programme for women new to/returning to hiking following injury/long term health conditions.
A hills skills project working with refugee women, building their outdoor skills and confidence.
If all goes well, and we can secure funding, we would love to scale these projects up and replicate them across the country.
How can people get involved with Adventure Queens?
If you are in the UK, you can join your local group and meet women in your area or join us at one of our main events.
You can also lend your support by purchasing and wearing some Adventure Queens merchandise with pride! We have got a range of t-shirts, hoodies, zoodies and mugs and a proportion of funds from every sale is invested back into the community, helping more women to take on outdoor adventures.