gOgirls: More Than Mountain Biking
This summer, young girls in the Gunnison Valley are building strong bodies and healthy minds through the gO Initiative’s gOgirl mountain sports program.
The gO Initiative came to fruition in 2012 when Dr. Rhett Griggs opened Griggs Orthopedics with the aspiration of creating a community resource to educate, inspire and develop local athletes of all ages. The gOgirl program was established to teach girls ages 7 to 14 about mountain biking, athleticism, mental health, nutrition and overall wellness.
“At the time, there wasn’t really a girl-specific mountain biking program. We live in this valley where everything’s so male-dominated,” Sarah Stubbe, president and founder of the gO Initiative, says. “We really want it to be a program where these girls become leaders in the community, so they’re paving the way in some of these sports. They’re also learning how to become leaders, to become athletes, and also utilize their athleticism for healthy minds and mental health.”
The gOgirl program began in 2015 as a small after-school program teaching girls how to properly ride and maintain their bikes. Today, the initiative spans the Gunnison Valley, with gOgirl programs in both Gunnison and Crested Butte, and 300 girls have participated.
The Crested Butte program is geared toward older girls and focuses primarily on mountain biking, while the Gunnison program welcomes girls as young as 6 and includes both biking and other activities.
“We do mountain biking once a week, but we also do rock climbing at the local gym and yoga and swimming. The Tuesday program is mountain biking, but the Thursday program is something other than that,” Stubbe says. “They love mountain biking, but they also love doing these other activities too.”
The girls learn about more than just athleticism. Those who have participated for multiple years become mentors to the younger girls, giving them an opportunity to develop leadership skills. Building confidence, comradery and friendship while creating a sense of female empowerment is what it’s all about.
“The program itself is geared toward a lot of mindfulness, meditation and using these outdoor activities as an outlet for them during stressful times as a healthy habit,” Stubbe says. “These girls can decide later on in life if they want to be a professional mountain biker. We really hope to create some well-rounded kids who appreciate where we live and take advantage of the fact that we have trails outside our door.”
The programs run twice a week in both Gunnison and Crested Butte until mid-August. To register, volunteer or donate to the gOgirls program, visit www.thegoinitiative.org.