Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Kickstart This! Thru: An Appalachian Trail Documentary

I am a lifetime member of the Church of the Outside. I try to get outside as often as possible, even if only for a walk along the creek trail behind my house. At the age of 44, I completed my BA in Environmental Studies and Outdoor Education. Every year for my birthday, I drag all my friends out for a hike in a place I've never been before. When we got married, we were registered at REI. (The best gift? An awesome backpacking tent!)

As someone who loves exploring the great outdoors, I am fascinated by stories of women adventurers. I eagerly seek out their stories and read them with relish, dreaming about my own next adventure. Sadly, there are not as many stories out there as one would hope. Most outdoorsy publications are geared toward men. Outside? A dude's magazine. Documentaries about hiking? Mostly dudes, with the occasional woman -- usually a wife or girlfriend. [Note: I adore Women's Adventure Magazine]

Now, I'm sure some will argue that there isn't a viable market for more women-centered stories about outdoor adventures. Of the total number of people out on the trails, only about 1 in 4 are women. And I'm sure there are a lot of varying reasons for that. But even at 25%, there are lots of women out there hiking. In Wild Cheryl Strayed tells of meeting several women on the trail. Whenever I'm out hiking, I always see other women. So why aren't there more stories? Wouldn't reading or seeing these stories inspire even more women?

Good questions, and Patrice Kincade and Lindsay Taylor Jackson are attempting to address them in their film Thru - An Appalachian Trail Documentary.
Off the trail society, especially as portrayed by the media, has high expectations for physical beauty while having low expectations for physical capability when it comes to women. However, on the trail these expectations are inverted. THRU hopes to highlight this inversion and send a positive and powerful message to women, "You can challenge yourself to do so much more than the world expects of you."

With THRU, we hope to inspire women of all ages to be adventurous, self-reliant, and confident in both physically demanding situations and everyday life. We want to produce the positive media women are demanding.

As of this posting, they've already met their initial goal. I do not know if they have any plans for stretch goals, but I am still going to back them. In my mind, it's important that not only this film gets made, but that there is overwhelming evidence that more projects like this are needed. And one of the best ways we can do that is to send a clear message with our dollars.

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