Adventures with Girls on Boards
Disclosure: I received an event pass to this workshop for me and a friend, so we could come experience for ourselves Girls On Boards to better understand about stand up paddle boarding and the great work of this organization. All opinions are my own.
The whole idea was to step outside my comfort zone and challenge myself to do something I normally wouldn’t try. I did that this summer. Twice, and both times were with Mia Lockhart.
The first was that I went to an art class with Celine Hambling to paint a whale. Mia was in the class, too!
I am not artistic. Nor am I athletic!
So, my second personal summer challenge was to try stand up paddle boarding with Mia Lockhart and Girls on Board. I wanted to learn more about this amazing organization.
About Girls on Boards
Girls on Boards is a non profit organization empowering girls to love their bodies, trust their core and lead the way.
Our mission: To empower tomorrow’s female leaders by building their confidence today.
Why Girls On Boards?
From Girls on Boards Facebook Page
53% of 13-year-old North American girls are unhappy with their bodies. This number grows to 78% by the time girls reach 17.
As early as the preteen years, girls start to withdraw from activities such as giving an opinion, going to school, going to the pool, etc. because they feel bad about how they look.
By middle school, 40-70% of girls are dissatisfied with 2 or more parts of their body.
Why Stand Up Paddle Boarding?
When you’re out on the water, paddling your own board and soaking up nature you stop worrying about how you look, and you start to feel gratitude for your body and the places it can take you.
The aim is to take groups of teen girls out on paddle boards, off social media, away from cameras and into nature to feel the power of their own bodies. Learning to love what their body can do for them, where it can take them. Feeling their strength, connecting and balancing their core. Opening discussions on what they love and what they love doing and where they want to go. Away from mirrors and pressure.
Women on Boards
Or, as we called it “WOBS”!
Girls on Boards also offer women’s retreats on paddle boards, building confidence and community for women in business and life.
Every woman’s retreat sponsors a teen retreat so that teen girls can go on their trips FOR FREE.
So, not only are we women doing something for ourselves, and helping to build our own confidence, stepping out of the box to try something new, we are also helping the next generation of women!
I tried stand up paddling boarding once earlier in the summer at a friend’s cottage for about 10 mintues. However, I was in my clothes afraid of falling in, and my dog was running along the shore, and I was afraid he would swim out to me and knock me over. It wasn’t a good assessment.
For this adventure I took my friend Nicole who is always up for anything! She had never tried stand up paddle boarding.
We met up with head of Girls on Board, Mia Lockhart, at the head of St. Margaret’s Bay near Halifax. From there, we got a few on land lessons, but the best way to learn, is by getting on your board!
We started out by paddling on our knees and worked up to crouching and then standing up!
When we all felt confident, we headed through St. Margaret’s Bay to Clam Island, and then back again. The round trip was 9km!
We had several breaks along the way, and could sit and enjoy the beauty and rest our muscles.
“4 hours on the water, away from life, choices and stresses to gain perspective, balance, empowerment and camaraderie.”
Once we got to Clam Island, the water was even warm enough to go for a swim! And the waters were full of star fish and the beach, sea glass!
Stand up paddle boarding is tough, but not impossible.
When you stand up, it takes a good 5 minutes before your brain readjusts to a new centre of gravity and to being on the water, and for you to unclench your toes and knees!
I felt most comfortable when I was kneeling on the board, because I felt like I was in a kayak or canoe, which I often do. However, I tried to challenge myself to stand up and go outside my comfort zone.
I fell in 2.5 times.
One time I turned my head to talk to someone and I lost my balance completely. The second time a fishing boat went right beside us, and instead of going to my knees for better balance, I remained standing, and was knocked off. The 0.5 time, was in very shallow water, I hit a rock, and one leg went in. That doesn’t count as a full fall. I own the others.
The water was warm, we were leashed to our boards, and Mia was right there to help me get back up on the board, so I didn’t feel too much like the beached whale from my art class above!
There are no pictures of my falling off! And, I wasn’t the only one.
I think in my teens and 20s I would have cared or been embarrassed that I fell in. Now, in my 40s, I really didn’t care. You just climb back on and keep on going, proud that you are doing something new.
As Nicole said, “You’ve given birth twice. You can do this!”
Before we left shore, Mia asked all to think about something as we were paddling.
“What advice would you give your teenaged self?”
When on the water with the teen girls, Mia has a lot of these conversations and likes to pass on the wisdom of the ages.
We aren’t just going to be paddle boarding, we’re going to be talking about confidence, body love and following your dreams
A lot of us said not to be so hard on ourselves, practice positive self-talk and not to worry so much!
“Thank you, Mia, for an amazing experience! Lucky to be out on the water with this lovely group of ladies!”
When you are out on the water concentrating on staying on board, it’s hard to think about anything else!
“Thank you, so much, Mia Lockhart, for wonderful guidance and leadership! You made us feel comfortable and safe! Appreciate your time and positive energy”
What does Girls on Board offer? Body empowerment and self-confidence exercises. Conversations and opportunities to share in a safe environment.
For women of all ages.
Based on our experience, here are our top tips for when you go on a Girls on Board trip.
- Bring a change of clothes. For some reason, all I brought was underwear and a sweatshirt. Did I think I wouldn’t get my pants wet? I would stay dry? I didn’t! Bring a whole set of clothes and a towel. Even if you don’t fall in, you’ll need them!
- Wear a tshirt. We wore leggings over a bathing suit, but those who didn’t have a t shirt on over the bathing suit found that the life jacket started to chaff.
- Wear old sunglasses. Luckily I remembered to do this, because I did lose mine the first real time I fell in.
- Change your mind frame. It’s ok if you’re not athletic. It’s ok if you fall in. Challenge yourself. What’s the worst that will happen? You’ll get wet.
- Just try it. Grab a girlfriend. Send your teen aged daughters and spend a day doing something you wouldn’t normally do. Moms, it’s ok to take time for yourself, too!
Girls on Board offers trips for teens, women and private groups. Tours run from spring to fall. Tours happen anywhere from the Halifax area to the South Shore and the Annapolis Valley.
All private tours help sponsor the costs of the Girls on Boards Sponsored teen tours!
Make a Donation
Even if you don’t book a trip in support of Girls on Board, you can still help them out financially.
Your funds will go directly to us being able to offer more SUP trips for teen girls. The team is small but their hearts are big and they are committed to reaching as many girls who want to come out and discover the power and their strength on paddle boards.
In the future, Girls on Boards hopes to hire other young women to help lead even more groups on even more adventures!
Need a Massage Afterwards?
Besides being a Paddle Canada Certified Stand Up Paddle Boarding Instructor and yoga instructor, Mia Lockhart is also a massage therapist in Wolfville!
So, if you are feeling a bit sore and stiff after your paddling excursion, don’t forget to book in a massage with Mia.
She will instantly make you feel calm and healed not only on the water but on land. You’ll just instantly feel better with Mia around!
If you are looking for your next women’s adventure, definitely check out a stand up paddle board workshop with Girls on Board. You will be surprised at how far you’ll come.