CAMDEN—Camden native Kerry Gross now lives and works in South Lake Tahoe, but her Maine roots will be taking her back home this summer for a cross-country interview project she created called Women Who Dare. The project spurred from the catalyst of an energy bar wrapper.
“I was training for adventure racing all last summer, which is a combination of orienteering, biking and paddling from eight to 30 hours at a stretch,” she said. “One day before I got into the pool, I look at the back of my Clif Bar wrapper and and it was about this adventuring guy and all of his guy friends and I started thinking, ‘Well this Clif Bar epitomizes my entire adventure training experience. I’m a strong, capable woman, and yet in these races, I’m the only woman around. Where are all the cool women? I know they are out there. I have to bike around the country and find them.’”
The first part of Women Who Dare will involve collecting stories through her website up until March 31. Any woman can recommend another woman who inspires her. As of now, Gross has collected around 60 stories, and quite a few have already come from her home town in the Midcoast.
The second part of her project puts her bicycle back into action. Gross will plan a route across the U.S. reaching as many Women Who Dare as possible.
Starting in mid-April and continuing throughout the summer, Gross will follow this route on her bicycle, interviewing inspirational women and sharing updates on her blog and Instagram.
The third component will turn the collected stories into podcasts.
“All of my grad student friends walking to and from school or cooking listen to podcasts all of the time, so I thought this was a medium that would really appeal to people in their 20s and 30s,” she said. “Once, I put the podcasts are put together, I’ll have the time to think about a longer written piece.”
Even though her audience skews younger, she wants stories of women at all ages. And the stories don’t need to be limited to just athletic accomplishments.
As we spoke on the phone on International Women’s Day, the timing of her project seemed fitting.
“Already, I’m hearing from a few fellow female adventurers how much they want to hear these stories about women's strength, intelligence, and perseverance, so that’s what I’m going to do,” she said.
For more information and to suggest a woman for the project, please visit http://kerrygross.com/
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org