This summer, after almost five years working in Afghanistan, Mountain2Mountain will launch it first domestic program, ‘Strength in Numbers’, in the United States, targeting young women at-risk, female military veterans, and violence survivors. Utilizing the bike as a vehicle for social justice, beyond traditional bike donations, instead considering mountain biking as a seed for cultural exchange and self-determination abroad and at home.
‘Strength in Numbers’ is an evolution from our ongoing work with women and girls in Afghanistan and our founder, Shannon Galpin’s, own personal experience as a victim of violence, and her continued push on gender and cultural barriers by becoming the first woman to mountain bike in Afghanistan, a country where women are not allowed to ride bikes. The first program will launch this July in Aspen, followed by Breckenridge in August, Moab in October, and a winter camp in December.
The week-long retreats will consist of daily mountain bike rides and skills sessions with local and international mountain bike riders/racers like Nicole Duke, morning yoga and meditation, and stand up paddleboarding. Skratch Labs will cooking for the women, the same way they cook for pro cyclists on the Tour de France and USA Pro Cycling Tour. Alchemy Bicycles are building a fleet of handbuilt stainless steel bikes like the one they built Shannon to ride in Afghanistan. Guest speakers, and film nights with movies and discussions like; Miss Representation, 23 Feet, MoveShake, and more, that will broaden minds, spark conversation, and inspire change to create our own Strength in Numbers.
The strength, confidence, camaraderie, and empowerment developed during the program is only the first step. The ripple effect of the retreats is created as the young women take part in community social action projects after their camp – back in their communities or overseas with future Mountain2Mountain projects.
To understand the inspiration behind this program, watch Shannon’s TEDx talk on the Power of Voice which serves as a rallying cry to change our perceptions of victimhood. We know, that given a voice, victims can be the catalysts for change in their communities.
We hope you will join us and help us create voice and strength to empower future changemakers for the next generation!
Donate today if you can help support forty women to take part in these camps and learn to use their voice, take a stand, and get involved – creating a ripple of change throughout our communities! Applications for the camps will go online in late February on Mountain2Mountain’s website.