Babes in the Bluffs is a New Mentorship Program
Babes in the Bluffs is a new volunteer-led mentorship program for women and gender-diverse climbers in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley.
The new initiative stated that “through community-building, peer-to-peer learning and skills workshops, our goal is to build a safe and empowering community where people can show up as their full selves, and feel inspired to challenge themselves without fear of failure.”
The program currently has a lot of applications from climbers who want to be mentored, but organizer Zanna Ekeroth said that they’re currently looking for more climbers who’d like to sign-up as mentors. If you’d like to apply to be a mentor (18+) or mentee (16+) visit here. You must apply by May 31 and accepted applicants will be notified by June 4.
The program is free, but participants can pay up to $50 and all proceeds will go directly to organizing climbing workshops/clinics with certified guides. “The program is for people of equity-deserving genders including women, non-binary people and other gender minorities. There aren’t any other requirements as long as you are committed to a season of learning, sharing and community-building.”
Q & A
Do I need to be an experienced climber? Nope. It doesn’t matter if you have climbed your whole life or are just curious to start out this year! Mentees and mentors will be matched based on their experiences, skillset and objectives.
What does it mean to be a mentee? A mentee is someone who has a desire to learn and grow their climbing skills, whether that be getting started in the sport or focusing on growing a certain aspect of climbing. A mentee asks questions, engages in problem-solving with the mentor and is open to learning, refining and advancing their climbing skills and knowledge. Mentorship is a two-way relationship for both participants to grow valuable skills by being vulnerable and open minded while committed to learning.
What does it mean to be a mentor? A mentor provides guidance, shares knowledge and feedback and engages in problem-solving with the mentee. A mentor finds value in ethical and safe practices at the crag but they don’t need to know all the answers or be climbing hard grades. If you are confident in your skills to safely manage anchor and belay systems, explain gear choices, and communicate clearly, then you already have a lot to offer to a mentee! As a mentor, you will likely realize through the process that you have more knowledge and insight to offer than you might think! Mentorship is a two-way relationship for both participants to grow valuable skills by being vulnerable and open minded while committed to learning.
What is the time commitment as a mentor or mentee? We ask that all participants commit to attending at least five meet-ups as part of Babes in the Bluffs during the time period of June through Oct 2023. This may be a combination of instructional workshops organized by Babes in the Bluffs and one-on-one/group sessions planned together with your mentee/mentor.
What kind of climbing is this program for? Skaha Bluffs offers sport, top-rope, trad, and multi-pitch climbing as well as bouldering at all grade levels. The type of climbing will be dependent on the interests of mentees and availability of mentors. There is the possibility of mentor groups engaging in multiple types of climbing as desired.
Will I be guaranteed a spot? This is the first year we are doing this (literally just started out this month) so we don’t know what interest will look like. We are hoping to accept most people who apply to the program. The number of mentees we can accept also depends on how much interest we get from mentors to show up and share their skills with newer climbers. Fingers crossed!
Who is funding this program? The 2023 mentorship season is funded by Taking IT Global through their Sprout Fellowship grant. We are incredibly grateful for their support that is making this possible.
Where will this program take place? Most of the climbing and meet-ups will be happening in the Skaha Bluffs (tu?ikən) which is part of the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Syilx Okanagan Nation. Recognizing that the Syilx people have been stewarding this land since time immemorial, we as climbers have a responsibility to be the best guest we can when recreating on these lands. Participants are not restricted to the Skaha Bluffs and may choose to go to another climbing area that better suits their needs or the weather.
Who is the team behind Babes in the Bluffs? Currently, we are two people on the core team: Zanna Ekeroth and Robyn Solland. Follow our Instagram to learn more about us! If you are interested in joining the organizing team and helping out with admin/marketing/outreach/other, please send us a message!
I am not able to participate in the program but would still like to support. What can I do? Spread the word! You may help by telling people about us and encouraging them to apply to the program. Follow us on social media (@babesinthebluffs). We are just starting up and have a small platform but the more we grow, the better chances of receiving grants and other support in the future. Donations: If you have the means and would like to contribute financially, we accept donations with enthusiasm and gratitude. Please contact us at the email below to organize an e-transfer donation. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to give a tax receipt as we are not a registered charity.
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