Happy Father’s Day to all in our Hike Like A Woman community. To celebrate our dads, Ambassador Annie writes about what the holiday means for her, as well as compiled thoughts from our ambassadors.
Father’s Day is upon us and while we are all about supporting women in the outdoors we know none of that would be possible without our other halves, our fathers & yes even our brothers (so long as they don’t pick on us) 😉
As many of our followers know, my father wasn’t much account but there’s one thing he did that I’m thankful for and truly appreciate to this day…He’s the one who introduced me to the outdoors. Despite everything it’s the one thing I can say he got right. Without his introduction, I can’t say I’d be here today writing this for you to read or on the trails or pitchin’ a tent for that matter.
I have had an amazing Step-Father for almost 20 years and he stepped in where my real father never did. Fred loves and supports me, no matter what and enjoys the outdoors as much as I do. The highlights of any of his days off are to be able to camp & hike with me and my husband even though my Mom can no longer handle the rugged trails.
My Step-Father, Fred Elliott, along the trail
The holiday got me thinking about my real Father & Step-Father but also about what the other Ambassadors cherished that their Father’s handed down to them. Here’s what they had to say about Dad;
Amy: He was a conservationist. He taught me the importance of our natural resources and how to appreciate them. I didn’t understand why others never valued them the way he did but, as an adult & parent, I try my best everyday to instill those values into others around me.
Ambassador Amy with her daughter (middle) and her Dad, Steve
Jill: I grew up in small business as my folks worked together and owned several small businesses throughout my life. Through these businesses, my dad taught me the value of work hard and dedication as a business is only as good as the people behind it. He also taught me about the value of customer service ~ not that the customer is always right, but that service itself is a product. You need to sell yourself and the business before people will buy a product. I learned to listen, to reserve judgement and to see both sides of the story equally ~ along with hard work and dedication, these values I have carried with me all my life. I blame my dad for who I am today. lol!
Ambassador Jill and her Dad
Jamie: He played outside with us. He was the one that took us hiking. Though it was only a couple of times, it started my love for being outside. He’d play slaughterball with the neighborhood kids. Basically 2 Dads would stand on the ends throwing balls at kids running around in the middle, it was a blast! I think they enjoyed it too. 😂
Mara: He instilled in me what it means to be an outdoors woman. He taught me how to read a map, use a compass, shoot a gun, and bought me a pink pocket knife. He also instilled into me to think critically and the importance of education and knowledge. My passion for photography and writing came from him. And even today, he teaches me how to be a better writer as he edits my blog posts.
Ambassador Mara and her dad.
Jennifer H.: As odd as it sounds, I appreciate the fact that he MADE me do things I didn’t want to do, often times crying the whole time, like ride roller coasters, hike to waterfalls, jump off waterfalls, ride the first water slides ever made, ski standing on his feet because I was too little to wear my own, etc… because these are all the things I now love doing. Had he settled for my “no, I don’t want to do it” I probably never would have!
Kathryn: My dad and I are a lot alike. Both artists, both dreamers, both intensely perfectionist, both lovers of the outdoors. My father passed on to me a way of looking at nature through a luminous lens and always from a new perspective. He used to scribble on a piece of paper and tell me to make something out of it. That exercise we’ve done together my entire life still sticks with me. It’s taught me to make something from nothing and find the beauty in everything.
Lorna: He walked again. He was paralyzed after a back surgery in the 80s and wanted to just die rather than be paralyzed from the waist down. By a freak accident he figured out he could walk and it was mind over matter. He started going to therapy and walked again. Never give up!
Rebecca: Growing up my Mom was a labor and delivery nurse who worked night shift. I’m one of 4 kids so on weekends my Dad always took us into the mountains (hiking, skiing, fishing, whatever) giving us a good dose of outdoor time with him so my Mom could get some good sleep. I’m really lucky to have such a good Dad.
Chelsea: My Father was a man built on 4WDs and open mountain air. As a child, we would gather up in his 80s Toyota and hit the trails of our local and beloved Mendocino NF for days at a time. When most girls begged for Barbie dolls, I was always tugging at my Dad for adventures. And boy would he provide, camping in the bed of a pickup truck under more stars than my little eyes could count. He has and still to this day been my biggest advocate of being the person I truly am, even if the gender stereotypes dismissed my dirty nails and wind ravaged ponytail. He is my strongest advocate in smashing the ideas of who I should become and instead pave a muddy trail of my own, with all the love and support a Father could muster. If it weren’t for my Dad, I sure as heck wouldn’t be as gung ho as I am in my adult life to simply pack up the truck and roll. Even if I’m rolling solo. He taught me the foundations of backcountry & offroad safety with the backing of a fierce, strong willed attitude to match. To all the Dads taking their daughters to mountain peaks and no-service lands instead of the mall, KEEP UP THE INCREDIBLY NEEDED (AWESOME) PARENTING. You are manifesting warriors that our planet needs to thrive, built on miles of earned love in our incredible backcountry. The steps you are taking are immeasurable to not only your daughters, by the wild open spaces you explore together as well! Never. Stop. Exploring. TOGETHER.
To all you Dad’s out there and the men who stepped into the role whole-heatedly, thank you and keep up the amazing work! We wouldn’t be blazing this trail without you!