Girls on the Move Trip

One of Heidi’s past adventures includes a summer with Girls on the Move. Girls on the Move was a cross-country biking expedition dedicated to celebrating and promoting the physical, mental, and emotional health of girls ages 9-18. It was a special project of Outward Bound, a nonprofit educational organization with five schools based across the country. Girls on the Move team riders were all volunteers. Core riders sacrificed many things to participate in the trip leaving their families, friends, and husbands, or they quit jobs or retired early to participate.

65 riders were chosen from approximately 500 applicants. 22 riders were Cores (making the full trip cross-country), and the rest were Stage 1 (Portland to Denver), 2 (Denver to Chicago), and 3 (Chicago to New York City). Heidi was a core rider, and considers it one of her most honored experiences. Below are portions of her stories about that experience:

“I will focus on the core riders rather than the stage riders, because that was my experience. Almost all of the core riders shared the same answer; “Girls on the Move trip has HARD!” We have had difficulty expressing and sharing our experience with people, because the concept and experiences were extreme. There were many ups and downs emotionally, challenges in keeping up with commitments and schedules, facing bad weather (rain, 103-degree heat, cold temperatures, and wind – we rode in 17-degree temperatures with the wind chill biting away at us), facing a wide variety of roads/terrain (steep, up and down over the mountains, over the Continental Divide, flat grounds, up and down hills, canyons, taking many lefts and rights, highways, country roads, bike paths and busy roads), moving from place to place daily for 70 days of packing and unpacking our personal baggage, sharing four riders per room in the hotel even when we did not know each other well, meetings almost daily, spending most lunch or evening meals socializing with Girls Scouts at potlucks, and so many other conditions.

It was hard to find time and place to be alone for a while, and many of us had a severe lack of sleep. We scheduled riders to take a day off, but most of us didn’t get complete rest on our days off. When GOTM was over, we were very happy and ready go back home! Even so, most of us have had our lives changed by this experience – and I continue to reflect upon the days during this trip. There is so much I could share about this trip. I was so fortunate to be able to visit three Deaf schools during the trip.

In addition, the GOTM trip exposed me to opportunities that were amazing for my personal growth. I hope to continue to do presentations and be a strong role model for deaf youth with the message that they can do anything in life they dream of, and I would like to work to help Outward Bound deaf programs expand. I hope the seed blossoms soon.”