Our Impact

Announcing Our Early Summer 2022 Grants!

We’re honored to announce our Early Summer 2022 Local Partner Awards – read on for a snapshot of each of these organizations. With this announcement, we’ve now officially passed the milestone of $250K in funding that expands access to outdoor education opportunities for girls and young women. WOW! 

In these difficult and challenging times, making a positive and direct impact in the lives of young women is one of the most powerful things we can do with our influence and resources. Young women who spend time outside are more likely to…⁠

– Feel a boost in self-confidence⁠
– Have a positive body image⁠
– Pursue STEM-related careers⁠
– Project confidence in new situations⁠
– Solve problems quickly and effectively⁠
– Be comfortable in a variety of outdoor settings⁠
– Protect the environment & live sustainably⁠
– Establish lifelong healthy habits⁠
– Advocate for gender equality⁠
We’re proud that our work helps to create this opportunity in so many communities and for young women of such varied backgrounds.

Embark Outdoors – Salt Lake City, UT – $5K

Empowering refugee women through sport – that’s the mission Salt Lake-based Embark Outdoors. We’re proud that we were Embark’s first source of funding, and we’re honored to announce a third $5K grant to advance their 2022 program – weekly meet-ups for rock climbing, hiking, and wilderness safety education, plus four multi-day excursions over the course of the year. Funding from The Cairn Project willsupport nuts and bolts needs, including transit passes for participants and food/fuel for the multi-day trips. Embark’s programs are tuition-free, and all participants have legal Refugee or Asylum-Seeker status.

Mental health support is an integral part of Embark’s programs. The organization has a volunteer therapist on the team who helps design curriculum and offers pro-bono individual support to those who need it. Family circumstances, economic and language barriers, and damaging narratives about women and refugees are all sources of ongoing stress in the lives of Embark’s participants. The program aims to be a bright spot for each of them, a place where they can feel safe being themselves. Embark’s programs not only get girls outside for a change in perspective and a chance to reflect on their goals and the direction of their lives, but also open space for deeper conversations about the life challenges that participants are facing.

Wild Hearts Idaho – Boise, ID – $5K

Outdoor Adventure + Girls Leadership + Community. That’s Wild Heats Idaho’s program in a nutshell. Are you as surprised as we are that the state of Idaho only has one local girl-centered organization increasing access to outdoor education??!! We’re so glad Wild Hearts Idaho is doing what they do, and we’re proud to continue our funding partnership with them. They follow a Leadership Progression Model, where skills are built upon over time. Every adventure/outing is designed to cultivate specific leadership and technical outdoor kills that become increasingly advanced over the course of the year.

As with so many of our local partners, volunteers are key to the success of Wild Hearts Idaho. The program’s Adventure Mentors – folks who lead each of the outdoor excursions – are educators, health care workers, professional guides, and college students. In 2021, Wild Hearts Idaho catalyzed more than 1500 volunteer hours into outdoor learning for young women. This year, volunteers will help Wild Hearts Idaho offer 15 adventures for 120 girls. So inspiring!

Wild Whatcom – Bellingham, WA – $5K

“Walking through life with wonder, confidence, and compassion for each other and the wild spaces around them.” That’s the ability and perspective that Wild Whatcom aims to impart to their participants. A preeminent Northwest outdoor ed organization, Wild Whatcom offers an array of girls-only and mixed gender curriculum – after school, weekend, and summer programs. Support from The Cairn Project will contribute to scholarships for young women participants joining all of these opportunities. Wild Whatcom is a leader in deepening access for underserved girls. Having built reliable partnerships with Bellingham’s social service agencies and schools, the organization is now expanding needs-based outreach to rural areas in the Mt. Baker region.

Wild Whatcom is also an example of an outdoor education group assuming an advocacy role, advancing collaboration and community voices. Wild Whatcom regularly collaborates with Whatcom Coalition for Environmental Education, Whatcom Coalition for Anti-Racist Education, Mt. Baker Community Coalition, and Birch Bay Blaine Thrives – as well as city governments and school districts. This spring, that coalition successfully advocated for HB 2078, Outdoor School for All, to include local/day programs, which allocated $10 million to outdoor education for the 2022-23 school year.