In Community, Editors' Picks

My Dearest TS Family,

I want to share a personal note about why Trail Sisters has decided to jump on board with Patreon, I’m sure some of you are wondering why. If you who have never heard of Patreon and are baffled by what I’m talking about, Patreon is a platform that gives people the opportunity to provide monthly donations to a specific project, organization or website.

When the idea of Patreon first entered my mind, I shut it down immediately. I wanted to fund Trail Sisters all by myself and through brand partnerships and ad sales. I didn’t want to ask my audience to donate, I just wanted to give something that’s been missing from the sport. You see, I’ve been taught from little on up that you work for what you want. You don’t beg, you earn. It’s up to you to make things happen, not up to everyone else to make things happen for you.

My partner Justin would say I’m a hard egg to crack when it comes to independence. I’m stubborn and believe I’m capable of anything and everything. I mean, who actually likes to admit they can’t do something? Depending on who you’re confessing to, you’re either considered weak, or you’re a hero for being open about your abilities. Sharing with strangers is like playing Russian Roulette with your self-esteem. Eek!

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When I started the online journal it was fairly simple to juggle the site upkeep, editing, and search for content. It was a passion project, something I could easily do on the side of my contract work in order to better women’s trail running and the sport as a whole.

With the traffic growing at a rapid rate, and an influx of emails asking for more articles and advice, along with a mix of complimentary notes, I quickly realized my little Squarespace side project needed a major upgrade.  Trail Sisters was no longer just an online journal, but instead a bonafide community of strong, motivated and proud women.

Being a natural people pleaser (and because I was just generally jazzed), I decided to carve out more time and resources in order to create a better and more functional website, solicit, edit and publish more articles, and start sharing the TS mission offline and in person. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my six hours per week passion project was going to be amplified to a 40 hours (probably close 50 hours) per week profession…while still doing contract work to pay the bills.

In addition to working with writers to develop their stories, editing and producing content for the site, there are other opportunities and projects Trail Sisters is using to promote women’s participation in trail running:

  • Seven Month Road Tour – Visited 30 speciality running retailers to meet local women, hear their stories, present and discuss important topics, and share the Trail Sisters message.
  • Team Trail Sisters – Community team that celebrates every and any woman. No time standards or qualifications. Three team sign-ups per year bringing on 100 women each time.
  • Trail Run Adventure Grant – Providing six women with a $500 grant and select gear to pursue their dream adventure. The grant recipients share their stories on TrailSisters.net to inspire others to chase after their own adventures.
  • Run With Her Trail Running Retreats – These women’s only retreats offer a non-intimidating setting where women can enjoy the trails, learn from multiple workshops, make life-long Trail Sisters and simply have an amazing weekend with the girls.

While these opportunities are great, to me they are only a great start!

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Thanks to the almighty power of ADHD, my energy level can match the speed of my non-stop ideas (I suppose they go hand in hand). I have future projects in the works to create a more welcoming entry to the sport, as well as additional ways of providing the community information and education. At this point, I’m sure I sound overzealous, and maybe a little nutty, but when you find something that moves you through your days with a smile on your face and gives you the warm and fuzzies in your…wait, does anyone actually know where you’re supposed to get the warm and fuzzies? I thought it was your tummy but that seems weird unless it’s related to food, and in your pants makes way more sense, but that would be for a totally different type of profession.  Anyhow, the point is that when you find something you truly love doing, you go all in.

And so, I’m here. All in. I’m dropping the contract work to free up all my time to do more for this amazing community and sport. It’s pretty scary to take big leaps and bounds, but if you never try, you’ll never know.

Now comes the part where I circle back to the original point…

In growing this community and creating more opportunities, it’s up to me to make sure I have my ducks in a row. There are many different outlets I’ll need to rely on in order to keep Trail Sisters rolling and expanding, but it’s always a game of chance on what I’ll end up with, and depending on what I end up with determines what I’m able to execute.

I now understand why so many small media sites and creators use Patreon. It isn’t there to bankroll their entity, but instead to help them be able to do more. And so, the answer to why Trail Sisters is on Patreon can be summed up by my favorite quote,

“Help me, to help you! – Jerry MacGuire

With support from your donations, I’ll be able to put the projects I’m designing into action (learn more on Patreon!), pay for additional and cornerstone content, upgrade the website to keep up with the traffic demand, travel to host free clinics and presentations, and the list goes on. All of the things I intend to do with the funds go directly to making the sport of trail running a better and more welcoming place for you.

And so with that, here is my ask… If you visit the site every week or every month and enjoy what you read, or if you’re inspired by the community and the mission, consider supporting Trail Sisters with a donation. Help me to keep growing the community, spreading the message, and offering more opportunity. Contribution levels start at $1 per month.

Thanks very much for the support, and for flying the Trail Sisters flag!

All the miles and hugs!

Gina

 

PS: If you can’t support financially at this time but want to know what else you can do… share an article, tell-a-friend, if you feel inclined you could leave a comment about how Trail Sisters has impacted you. Most importantly always remember to inspire, educate and empower!

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