"This is so fun," said one girl, then another, then another. They were laughing hysterically playing on the standup paddleboards provided by RAMP Sports. These 14 girls are members of the Boys & Girls Club and also part of the Youth Initiative program created by SheJumps, a 501c3 nonprofit that offers outdoor opportunities to girls. With the sponsorship of this program, RAMP is working hard to "give back" when it can with events like this.
If it weren't for RAMP and SheJumps, these kids wouldn't have the chance to SUP. They never heard or "SUPping." None of them had even been to a Greater Salt Lake Area reservoir. But they all grew up just minutes from the mountains, some considering the mountains a "backdrop" or untouchable. They've grown up in tough homes, or their parents work hard to provide for them but aren't around too often, or just haven't been introduced to outdoor activities.
"These kids never have their guard down, so it's awesome to see them letting go, getting outside, and having fun and laughing," said Boys & Girls Club Lied Director Jess Hill. "The outdoors does that for them, it's like magic."
Many of the teens have been participants in the (S)heJumps into the Canyon program, where SheJumps teaches the teens how to ski over the course of four consecutive weekends, while offering mentorship. Some of Utah's top athletes have been coaches, including RAMP's Lindsey Van (2009 Ski Jumping World Champion) and Hannah Whitney, big-mountain skiers Rachel Burks and Julian Carr, U.S. Ski Teamers like Emily Cook, among other amazing local skiers.
With the support of Alta and other nearby businesses, these teens can experience the mountains. And just this summer, RAMP was in a position to offer SheJumps use of its C4 Waterman SUP demo fleet.
The kids met at RAMP and got a tour of the Park City factory where they learned how a ski and snowboard is made; then they hopped in the vans to head to Jordanelle State Park to play on the SUPs.
During the course of the afternoon, the kids learned how to SUP thanks to SheJumps volunteers and RAMP staff. They swam, laughed, and even pretended they were at a spa-Le Jordanelle-by taking a mud bath. The teens definitely let their guard down, and got a taste of getting in touch with the outdoors, playing with dirt-literally-and enjoying good company.
RAMP is teaming up with SheJumps again on Sunday, Aug. 25, to offer a Get The Girls Out day-an national campaign offered by SheJumps-to unite women as they support, challenge, mentor and inspire each other in the outdoor sports world. For more details about how to participate in GTGO, visit www.shejumps.org.
I'm very proud to be a part of both SheJumps and RAMP. -Vanessa Pierce, SheJumps co-founder and RAMP communications director