Guts_Logo_Color_thumbnailGirls Using Their Strengths (GUTS!) is a unique, community-based leadership and empowerment program designed by and for young women*, ages 9 to 18. GUTS! encourages young women to explore their own personal values and discover their strengths through wilderness adventures in the summer, as well as after-school groups and community service projects during the academic year.

In the face of a culture that sexualizes young girls and places more value on external appearance rather than inner strength, GUTS! provides a safe and supportive environment for girls. Our women staff and volunteers help girls build their confidence, explore important issues, develop strong and healthy relationships, practice their leadership skills, learn about nature, laugh, play, and have FUN!

*Interested participants who identify with girlhood or womanhood are welcome to join GUTS! programs. This includes participants who are transgender or are outside the gender binary and feel that GUTS! could be beneficial or enjoyable to them.

Girls Representing In Trades

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The GRIT Program offers hands-on workshops in the skilled trades, from construction and electrical to welding and auto mechanics, and serves middle and high school girls and non-binary and gender-diverse youth.*

GRIT’s mission is to empower and educate girls and non-binary and gender-diverse youth by strengthening their self-confidence, building their self-sufficiency, broadening their perspective of what hobbies and career options are available to them, and having fun! We believe that increased exposure and hands-on learning will help GRIT participants build the confidence to try new things and enter spaces that have historically been male-dominated, or spaces where their identities are underrepresented or marginalized.

Our vision is to help usher in a generation of young people who feel capable, confident, and encouraged to follow their dreams regardless of their gender.

GRIT programs are offered throughout the school year.

*Our workshops are intended to provide safe and encouraging learning spaces to youth who may feel intimidated or unwelcome in the traditionally-male-dominated skilled trades. If you don’t identify as a woman, non-binary, or gender-diverse and want to participate, just email Sam: [email protected].

Many thanks to Arrowroot Productions for producing this video for GRIT.

Our upcoming events include:

  • GRIT Butchering Workshop: Saturday, November 16th, 1-4 PM. Open to girls, women, and gender diverse individuals aged 14+, with priority given to youth participants. Get hands-on experience quartering and butchering a deer killed during this hunting season. Register here!

Questions? Contact Roe Erin at [email protected] or (406) 543-6691.

Summer Outdoor Adventures

Summer Outdoor Adventures

Led by qualified women instructors, GUTS! girls increase their self-confidence, hone individual strengths, and cultivate their appreciation for the natural world in an environment free from societal pressures. Our outdoor adventures are designed to develop leadership skills utilizing recreation and discovery as catalysts. Summer Outdoor Adventures incorporate several outdoor skills such as backpacking, canoeing, farming and biking while introducing participants to the GUTS! leadership method.

School & Community Groups

Action Groups

(School Year) Action Groups give participants the chance to learn and practice leadership skills in their homes, schools and communities. Small groups of between five and ten girls meet throughout Missoula on a weekly basis with two or three women facilitators. These groups discuss topics ranging from healthy relationships and body image to long-term goals and values. Groups develop and complete an action project each school year, providing them with the opportunity to utilize their individual skills to produce real results in their lives.

Teen Talking Circle

This group is for teens who identify with womanhood and are Native American and/or People of Color. We will identify our individual and collective strengths and consider our various identities, with a focus on relationships, resiliency, and action (and whatever else you want!)

Registration for this group is currently closed. Please contact Roe Erin at [email protected] or 543-6691 with questions about the next group.

Community Adventures

(All Year) All of the Action Groups meet together once a month with women role-models to discuss topics developed by the participants, learn community change techniques, take field trips and go on mini outdoor adventures. Community Adventures give participants a chance to connect with GUTS! girls from other schools and work together to make positive change at the community level.

To join an after-school group, call Tess Sneeringer at (406) 543-6691 or email [email protected].

GUTS! Events

There are lots of GUTS! specific events that happen throughout the year and each item is listed in a GUTS Category our Events Calendar.

GUTS! Volunteers

Volunteers in the GUTS! program work to provide a safe and supportive environment for young women to discover who they are and what skills and talents they can offer the community. Upon completion of six hours of training, GUTS! volunteers lead outdoor summer adventures, facilitate action groups through out the school year, and help out with community adventures all year long. For more information or to get involved, contact GUTS! Program Coordinator, Tess Sneeringer, at [email protected] or (406) 543-6691.

Online Volunteer Application

Create a GUTS! Group

GUTS! offers program start-up guides and facilitator manuals and training for those interested in implementing girls’ empowerment groups in communities outside Missoula. Contact Roe Erin, GUTS! Manager, at (406) 543-6691 or [email protected] for more information!