Amanda Hatley, the founder of She Summits Co., shares her thoughts on what summer camp can do for girls, what it means to be brave, and the best place to hike in Maine.
In a nutshell, what is She Summits Co.?
We are an adventure travel camp for women and female-identified people of all ages. Our summer camps help girls connect with some of the most amazing parts of Maine: Acadia, the Bold Coast, and the Katahdin region. We also offer year-round adventure opportunities to help women and girls build connections with each other.
Why do you think it’s important for girls, in particular, to be adventuring in the outdoors?
There was a study done in 2017 that said that young women who have their first outdoor experience with other women are 72 percent more likely to continue to have outdoor experiences throughout their lifetime. If we start young, then we continue to evolve in the outdoors and become stewards of the outdoors. Outdoor experiences also lead to girls building confidence that they carry into other areas of their lives.
Did you go to summer camp as a kid?
Yes, I went to a coed camp in North Carolina. That’s where I had my first outdoor experiences—and I was hooked. But I noticed how much more free I felt when I was doing things with my all-girl cabinmates, than when we had coed activities. I felt there was a lot of stress in keeping up with the guys; all those gender norms came in to play. So, we’re looking at taking those away, getting rid of that worry, so girls can explore their own ways of being connected and brave.
Why is bravery such an important concept in your programs?
Not everybody’s idea of brave is standing on top of a mountain. Some people’s brave is going on that first hike and just being brave enough to sign up. As a person, I’m not your typical explorer. I’m plus-size; I tend to be a little bit on the clumsy side. Having an experienced person lead me on outdoor adventures showed me that I can do these awesome things, I can get to these beautiful places. The excitement and confidence that I got from being able to finish a trail or climb a rock face has translated back into my work, to being a person who could start a company focused on getting outside and helping others be the person they want to be.
What’s your favorite place to be outdoors in Maine?
The Bold Coast, no question. The Cutler Coast Public Reserve was the first place I hiked when I moved to Maine, and it stuck right in my heart. You can hike right on the coast with the waves coming up at you. There are lots of places to camp, right over the water. I’ve hiked all over the country, and that’s my favorite place.
She Summits Co. Adventure Camps
Each camp is offered for two age groups: one for girls who have finished sixth through eighth grade, the other for those who’ve completed ninth through eleventh grade. All camps include a Stewardship Day, in which girls help to maintain and protect the land they are exploring.
Discover the Maine coast from Lubec to Portland through sea kayaking and hiking.
Hiking, biking, and sea kayaking in Maine’s spectacular national park.
Canoeing, hiking, and whitewater rafting in the shadow of the “Greatest Mountain.”
For more information visit shesummitsco.com