Girl Power: Summer Leadership Camp Looks to Create Female Empowerment


This summer, 39 high school girls will participate in a leadership camp created by two Colorado-based businesses. The girls will spend time in the classroom and outdoors to improve their individual leadership skills. Courtesy Avid4 Adventure

Avid4 Adventure and MergeLane, two Colorado-based businesses, have teamed up to provide a summer camp for 39 teenage girls in a mission to enhance their leadership skills through classroom learning and outdoor adventure.

The idea for the camp was originated by Sue Heilbronner, CEO of MergeLane, a leadership accelerator that supports entrepreneurial businesses where at least one member of the leadership team is a female. “We knew that one of the places where women begin to face challenges in their confidence is when they’re girls,” she says. “We wondered what would happen if we impacted these emerging leaders when they’re in high school—how would it later affect the pool of female business leaders and their abilities, goals and potential? We figured if we could start them earlier then we could have even more impact.”

Heilbronner approached Avid4 Adventure, an adventure sports camp with 10 Colorado locations that strives to empower kids to be active outdoors, about working together to create a leadership camp for girls that’s both informative and fun. The girls will spend half the day in the classroom with the MergeLane team working on leadership concepts and teamwork, then spend the other half of the day with the Avid4 Adventure team participating in adventure sports—including rock climbing, mountain biking, paddle-barding, canoeing and hiking—to enhance the lessons learned in the classroom.

“We feel through a combination of working in teams in a classroom environment and coupling that with an outdoor experience the girls can really tap into some of the deeper reserves of confidence—it will be a really powerful mix for girls,” says Ileana Street, senior vice president of new business for Avid4 Adventure.

Both businesses have high hopes for the camp. “We want the girls to believe they can be a leader in whatever capacity they choose—that they find not only the confidence to be a leader but also a leadership style that feels comfortable to them,” Street says. “I hope the girls walk away with a greater sense of inner knowledge about what they’re good at, what they want and the behaviors and outlook that will get them those things.”

The camp, for girls entering ninth through 12th grade, takes place August 7-11 in Boulder and costs $549; financial assistance available. Spots are limited; register now.

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