Established in 2007 and headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, OWA has been steadily growing its grassroots program by establishing local OWA chapters with locally-based leaders. The goal is to build communities and relationships by bringing women together through real-life activities, outings, workshops, and events. Now with six grassroots teams spread across the United States and Canada, OWA focuses on thoughtful, intentional growth by creating a strong foundation in each area with fully equipped team leaders before expanding to a new area.
The Central Oregon grassroots team is based in Bend and is led by OWA team leader Elena Pressprich. Started just about a year ago, in the fall of 2014, OWA Central Oregon has already grown to 1,300 members and it welcomes all women who are interested in promoting or participating in human-powered activities in wild places. Pressprich sums up OWA Central Oregon's first year: "I have seen such great things come out from the group in one year; many new women are making new friends and seeing new things together. Several have found new love for an adventure activity that they have never tried before. It makes me so happy to help be a part of someone's journey in finding happiness in something that they will have with them for the rest of their lives!"
The best way to get involved with OWA Central Oregon is through its Facebook page (facebook.com/groups/OWACentralOregon), which serves as a forum for organizing informal activities and talking gear or outdoor-related community events, or by signing up for the local email newsletter. Events are hosted by OWA Central Oregon periodically throughout the year, although anyone may organize and lead their own event. Informal meet-ups are often coordinated via the Facebook page, and official team events can be led by anyone in collaboration with the team leader. In its first year, some of OWA Central Oregon's team activities included snowshoeing to the Virginia Meissner warming hut, hiking Tumalo Mountain, Mount Bachelor, and South Sister, and hosting a Standup Paddleboarding 101 event.
OWA Central Oregon's next big event is its Fall Gear Sale, coming up on October 18th at Rebound Physical Therapy on the Westside. The gear sale, which occurs twice each year, in the spring and fall, is an opportunity for women to come together to buy and sell outdoor gear, make a little money, or score a deal. While the gear sold is ladies' only, the event itself is open to anyone and free of charge. Those wishing to sell their gently-used gear simply need to label it with their name, phone number, and price, and drop it off at the event between 9-11:30 am on October 18. The sale itself will take place from noon-4 pm, and all money collected will go to the sellers (none is collected by OWA). With the seasons changing, it's a great opportunity to clean out unused gear or stock up on "new" gear at a great deal.
Visit OWA Central Oregon's Facebook page to find the event invite and details.
To learn more about OWA, read stories and gear reviews, find inspiration, and get involved, go to their website at: outdoorwomensalliance.com.