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Partner Spotlight: Post 58

Post 58 is a group of teenagers from the Portland metro area who engage in outdoor adventures under the guidance of experienced adults. These activities include rock climbing, backpacking, hiking, mountaineering and many other outdoor adventures. The Post is open to students ages 14-18. Members participate in trips around the Northwest and sometimes to mountain ranges and climbing areas in other states and countries.

We’re excited to partner with Post 58 students on excursions throughout the year. Last year high school students from Post 58 joined our Betties on local hikes and encouraging our participants to continue exploring outdoor adventure sports as they move into high school. In this school year we planned an overnight camping and rock climbing trip with Post 58 at Smith Rock. We look forward to sharing more about that trip in a later blog post!

Our Program Assistant, Arcadia Trueheart, interviewed two Post 58 students (Eliza and Vivian) and two advisers (Maya and Charlie) to learn more about their experiences in the outdoors.

Eliza: is a senior at St. Mary’s High School and a newly elected president of one of the Post58 chapters. She joined her Sophomore year after hearing about Post58 from other girls at her school.

Vivian: is a recent graduate of Cleveland High School and continues to be actively involved with Post58. She spoke with our Betties360 participants about joining Post 58 when they enter high school.

Maya: is a Post58 adviser – one of the many adults who volunteer to organize and lead the trips. She joined for the opportunity to learn outdoor recreation leadership skills and to connect with teenagers in the community.

Charlie: is a Post 58 adviser and participated in Post58 as a high school student and returned to lead Post58’s community outreach initiative.

Why did you join Post 58?

Eliza: I originally joined because I wanted to get outside more, I wasn’t really aware of the community but it has been more beneficial than I had thought originally.

Charlie: It’s a community that kinda hooks you in, it’s a space where people feel comfortable with themselves. Being part of that [youth-adult] relationship and growth is real special and you don’t often find that in [short term] outdoor leader positions, [at the Post] there are relationships that can be cultivated over several years.

Vivian: Definitely the community. It’s such a strong community. I have friends that I never thought would be my friends and I’m very close with them now. Also the Post gives you so many resources to things you might not have. They want you to go on these trips so bad and they want you to see what you’re passionate about because maybe you love mountaineering and you never knew that until you climbed Mt.. Hood. You should see if that’s for you. The Post is really good at making sure that that is accessible to everyone.

Why are outdoor leadership opportunities are so important for teens?

Maya: [In this society] we don’t really have rites of passage so doing outdoor experiences gets you closer to these rites of passages that I think we really crave. I just think having a space where you’re separate from the adults that run your life, where you can talk to your community about anything and everything is so important. [As a teen] I really valued the opportunities to be in a space that was separate from school, separate from my family… to get that kind of removing from your known spaces and especially… where you get to create community with your peers is such a valuable chance to become your own person and develop your identity in a way that you just don’t have access to when you’re just in these spaces that you’ve been in your whole life.

I’m really interested in female-identified trips because I think that women really need that at that time in life to talk about all of these women health issues in a space that feels really safe and nonjudgmental, for me the outdoors is a really good place for that.

Vivian: I’d never done outdoor stuff before so it really opened up a door for me of new passions.The Leadership aspect was really important. It changed my life and how I see problems. I used to be a lot more aggressive and forward but now I feel like I’m a little more versatile with problem solving.

Eliza: The Leadership has been a huge aspect of it, I don’t think I would have had the opportunity to become president or the skills I’ve learned from that in a different atmosphere. I’m a lot more confident interacting with adults and organizing events too.

How do you address safety in the outdoors and getting outside your comfort zone?

Maya: I got my wilderness first aid through the Post and so that made me feel better that that’s a priority is to have advisers certified in these specific ways. We try to keep our community in the community so that we don’t have to hire a guide from somewhere else and so that way you’re still building relationships. You’re going to have a safer trip if the advisers already have long standing relationships with the students so that we can recognize everyone’s needs quickly and have all these certifications under our belt as well.

Vivian: No one’s going to push you into your danger zone. The Post is not about pushing people way outside their comfort zone, making them freak out and hate everything. It’s pushing them to their learning zone and seeing this is what’s possible.

I would encourage parents like if it’s a hike, come with us! That’s totally okay. My mom went to the very first meeting and she has never questioned anything since. She felt so secure in that first meeting when she saw the people who were going on these trips with me.

Charlie: It’s a very safe atmosphere both in the outdoors and in town, in its community, so of things people can do in high school, it seems to be one of the safer things.

What are you most excited about when it comes to partnering with Betties360?

Vivian: I’m so excited to meet them [the Betties360 participants] and just the fact that they have this courage and inspiration to even try it out is just so awesome. I love working with younger kids who are middle school level because they’re just gonna teach me so much also. Especially if they do decide to go in the Post they’re just going to be right off the bat fierce and ready to take some leads on some trips. They’re gonna have these skills to make themselves even more successful.

Eliza: I know that the Post would have been really influential to me if I had started even earlier. I know that it would have been really helpful as you go through middle school which can be a little tumultuous so I’m excited that they [Betties participants] have the opportunity to be out there.

Maya: I think it’s a wonderful transition, especially a program like Betties where you have these specific skills you work on and it’s starting to build that spark or that interest in the outdoors or other activities that women might not be interested in because they might think oh that’s a boy’s sport. I think it’s a really awesome transition into the Post where you do get to be more, you learn those leadership skills, it’s a student-run place, it’s a place for developing and continuing to develop that autonomy and also a space that it is promoting female inclusion and female leadership, I think it’s just a natural flow.

Charlie: It seems to me to be a clear continuation from some of the things you all [Betties] do, talking about pushing one’s comfort zone and engaging in activities that might put you to the test and how to overcome adversity and respond to difficulty wherever it lies. In values and philosophies it’s very similar. I also think now’s the time for women to run the world. So I’m pumped about seeing these future leaders come into our world.

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