GirlVentures’ mission is to empower adolescent girls
to develop and express their strengths.

Our Approach

As the only San Francisco Bay Area nonprofit of its kind, GirlVentures combines outdoor adventure with social emotional learning for adolescent girls, at a time in their lives when they need our support the most.

Through our courses that follow our Leadership Progression Model, girls backpack, hike, kayak and rock climb as they experience the wonders of the Northern California wilderness. They learn from experiential educators and compassionate mentors, while building life skills that will empower them to reach their full potential.

Exploring self, community, culture, health, and environment, our unique curriculum nurtures self-esteem and resilience, as girls develop into empowered, confident young women who are conservationists and compassionate allies to each other.

The experiences that these girls share enable them to feel supported, find strength from one another and within themselves, gaining the skills needed to face the challenges of adolescence and making a difference in them that lasts a lifetime. 


Our Model

Our transformative courses are designed to empower girls to Live Healthy, Relate Wisely to others and the environment, and Lead Confidently. GirlVentures' Approach follows a Leadership Progression Model, where girls grow and learn through each grade and course.

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Our Outcomes

GirlVentures' programs give girls the strengths they need to succeed in school and in life by building their self-reliance, collaboration, and leadership skills. 

Our courses provide a catalyst for positive personal change: more than 90% of participants report that we have empowered them to:

Live Healthy

Girls identify and express their needs, independently practice self-care, trust themselves to make good decisions, try new creative expression activities and learn new ways to explore their feelings.

  • 92% believe their bodies can do more than they initially believed
  • 92% feel more confident to try activities that some people think girls can’t or shouldn’t do
  • 91% are more likely to be physically active in the future

Relate Wisely

Girls relate to themselves, others, and the environment with respect, wisdom and compassion. They "speak their truth" within the group, learn to effectively resolve conflict, build pride in their cultural identity while honoring others' identities, and become stewards of the environment.

  • 92% understand how to take better care of the environment
  • 91% are more likely to make friends with girls different than themselves
  • 89% are more able to appreciate being outdoors

Lead Confidently

Girls broaden their understanding of leadership concepts, develop personal ethics and moral values, and believe they can overcome gender-based constraints. 

  • 93% believe they can now be leaders
  • 93% are more confident to be themselves regardless of what others think
  • 92% are more likely to say what they really think or feel

Who We Serve

Core to our success is recruiting participants diverse in experience, cultural, ethnic and socio­economic background; this intentional mix is a unique attribute for a nonprofit, providing a rare opportunity for girls to embrace what makes them special and appreciate differences in others. Our instructors create supportive environments for girls with different needs, while teaching allyship and conflict resolution skills.

GirlVentures eliminates traditional barriers to the outdoors and high-quality programming: we provide all needed equipment from our gear library, nutritious meals and snacks, and transportation to and from course areas. 

Our courses are offered at a steep discount to all participants. To ensure all girls have access to these transformative programs regardless of background, we offer need-based sliding scale financial aid: two-thirds of participants come from low- to middle-income families and receive full to partial scholarships.

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Evaluation

GirlVentures uses ongoing program evaluations in the form of post-course surveys to measure our success. Course evaluations were designed by Dr. Kara Sammet (UC Berkeley) with input from Dr. Nina Roberts (SF State University). We annually review this process to ensure the highest quality of program assessment.

We gather quantitative and qualitative feedback from girls and field staff on the program logistics, content, safety, and methods of delivery through student evaluations and Instructor and Course Director reports. Program administrators and our Risk Management Committee review this feedback for designing subsequent programs.