I'll be honest. Wearing a dress out in public is getting to be a pretty natural thing for me nowadays.
To be fair, I'm usually heading out to do something awesome in it.
In August 2012, my father, brother and I hiked for 5 days and over 70km along the Berg Lake Trail in the Canadian Rockies, and we did it while wearing school girl dresses. Why? We did it as part of Do It in a Dress, an initiative by the Australian-based organization One Girl, who's programs help support scholarships for young girls and women entrepreneurs in Sierra Leone. In every way possible, it was a huge success.
After 2012's amazing campaign that we dubbed the "Hikers Without Pants" setting the "awesome bar" oh-so-high, I knew it was going to be tough to reach those lofty glacier-capped heights again. I'd need more help. So this year, I decided to do something a little different: get a bunch more people involved.
And so we did.
Before the big event, there were many warmups and trail runs. Coaching hockey in a school girl dress, going to the pub, or shooting some hoops. Nathan even dressed as a zombie and shuffled down the streets amongst a zombie hoard in his school girl dress.
Then came the big event. Thirty amazing men, women, boys and girls stepped up to first don a dress and then strap on a climbing harness to climb at Saskatoon's Grip It climbing center.
We became the "Climbers Without Pants."
TV, radio, newspaper. They all wanted to know. My favorite email came from a producer at CBC Radio.
"I assume your plans to climb things without pants is still going through this week? When's the best time to get you on the radio?
Turns out that that people really want to know what's up. So we invited them along. In fact, there were so many of us, that we had to close Grip It to the general public. Sorry, no room, unless you're dressed... properly.
And then we climbed!
So I'm going to tell you, climbing in a dress is no easy task. Well, climbing itself is tough enough, and doing it in a dress is even more of a challenge. First off, you have to be careful of the upskirt! Secondly, there really isn't all that much give in the arms. A couple of our participants (particularly the ones with thicker frames) even tore their dresses a bit reaching up for holds.
When all is said and done, our 30 climbers raised over $9000 from hundreds of individual donations. That's enough to pay for 30 girls to attend school in Sierra Leone. Thirty lives directly impacted.
As for next year? We'll have to see what comes up. I'm all about going bigger, so we'll have to step it up again.
The only question... are you in?
A few shoutouts:
I'd like to thank Jeff Main and Dean Lester for really helping pull the events together. I'd also like to thank the team at Grip It Rock Climbing for hosting us, and Jay Afshin & Matt Braden for volunteering their photography skills for the event. Finally, all of our participants and their donors who together are helping make a difference in lives on the other side of the globe.