Women in the Outdoors Month: the Outing Club is celebrating with events and activities


Adele Roulston, ‘24, stands by a sign on the Appalachain trail during Women in the Outdoors Month. Photo courtesy of Ashley Hancox, ‘21.

Virginia Laurie

March 1 marked the beginning of National Women’s History Month, as well as Washington and Lee Outing Club’s Women in the Outdoors Month. The club kicked off its annual celebration with a s’mores campfire at the pavilion.

Emma Aldrich, ‘22, said she participated in Women in the Outdoors Month before, But this was her first year helping organize and lead events, like hiking, horseback riding, self defense classes, “morning muffin walks,” yoga classes, poetry readings, fly casting clinics and more. 

Aldrich said her favorite event of the month so far was a sunset hike up to Devil’s Marbleyard. 

“It’s these kinds of memories, not how you perform on a midterm or what grade you receive on a presentation, that you remember years after college is finished,” Aldrich said.

She said the club tradition was about empowerment. 

“It’s a celebration of women who love to get dirty and sweaty, pee in the woods and embrace adventure. Through extended programming, we encourage active Outing Club members of all genders to branch out and try new things,” she said.

In previous years, events have included kayak rolling lessons in the Natatorium, fire-starting, rock climbing, outdoor painting and first-aid clinics. 

This year, the events operated under COVID-19 restrictions.

“It’s caused us to do more, smaller trips to try to get as many people involved as possible while minimizing close contacts,” Aldrich said. “Transportation has also been a challenge. We’re not allowed to provide transportation in OC vehicles, so ensuring accessibility to OC trips for people without their own vehicles has been an emphasis over the last semester.”

Outing Club leader Ashley Hancox, ‘21, stressed the importance of “getting out there” while you can. 

“Getting out of your comfort zone and exploring the outdoors, and making amazing friends in the process, is more rewarding than you can imagine,” she said. “We only have four years at W&L in this incredible natural setting.”

Aldrich said she’d encourage anyone who was nervous about going on an Outing Club trip for the first time not to hesitate. 

“The outdoors belongs to everyone and as trip leaders, it’s our mission to make everyone want to sign up for another trip– we’ll do everything we can to make sure you have a positive experience, come home safe, and sign up again soon.”