Mission. Vision. Values.

GirlVentures’ inspires girls to lead through outdoor adventure, inner discovery, and collective action.

The only nonprofit of its kind, GirlVentures combines outdoor adventure with social emotional learning for adolescent girls, at a critical time in their lives.

Starting at age 11, our youth follow the GirlVentures’ Leadership Progression Model, building confidence, leadership and life skills as they backpack, hike, kayak and rock climb in the Northern California wilderness. They learn from experiential educators and mentors while gaining knowledge and tools that empower them reach their full potential.



GirlVentures was founded in 1997 as the Bay Area Girls Center. While studying the transition from childhood to adolescence among girls at the Harvard School of Education, our founders observed that girls faced multiple emotional, physical and social challenges. Underserved girls from marginalized communities, in particular, needed extra support and mentorship to foster the self-confidence, perseverance, and sense of community necessary for academic, social and career success. Our founders discovered that outdoor education, and more specifically single-gender outdoor education, fosters the qualities that girls need to face the challenges posed by the transition to adulthood. And that’s how GirlVentures came to be.

Vision and Values

We envision a world where girls and women lead inclusive, resilient communities, and where nature is accessible to everyone and conserved for future generations.

GirlVentures is built upon our shared values of inclusion, integrity, empathy, creativity, and community. We are dedicated to practicing radical inclusion. This means we make our programs as widely accessible as possible and adopt organizational practices that actively promote inclusion, cultural humility, and more equitable distribution of resources.

Learn more about GirlVentures’ commitment to inclusion and diversity in programming, organizational culture and more.


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GirlVentures’ programs explore identity, social justice, leadership, health, and the environment. Our unique curriculum nurtures girls’ self-esteem and resilience as they develop into empathetic, confident conservationists and allies. These shared, life-changing experiences enable girls to find strength from one another and within themselves. They gain the skills needed to face the challenges of adolescence. Explore all of GirlVentures’ transformative program offerings.

To ensure that girls from all communities can access to our programs, GirlVentures utilizes a sliding scale fee structure. We also provide provides all gear, food, and transportation free of cost. See our Payment Policy for further details.


GirlVentures' programs provide a catalyst for positive personal change. Five-year averages from our post-course surveys of participants demonstrate that:

  • 93% believe they can now be leaders

  • 93% are more confident to be themselves regardless of what others think

  • 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

  • 92% are more likely to say what they really think or feel

  • 92% understand how to take better care of the environment

  • 91% are more likely to be physically active in the future

  • 91% are more likely to make friends with girls different than themselves

  • 89% are more able to appreciate being outdoors

Learn more about how GirlVentures empowers young people in our 2018 Impact Report.

I’m currently in college and graduating this semester with a BA in Communication Design and a minor in Psychology. GirlVentures has helped me get this far, teaching me that any challenge can be conquered through determination, collaboration and never being afraid to step out of your comfort zone.
— LaTresha, participant