Second award for EmpowHER

Mununjali Traditional Elders Aunty Sue Blanco and Aunty Delores Paulson at the EmpowHER launch.
Mununjali Traditional Elders Aunty Sue Blanco and Aunty Delores Paulson at the EmpowHER launch. Photo by Sarah Marshall.

The Scenic Rim’s EmpowHER hiking program has received a second major award.

EmpowHER took out the Government Achievement Award at the Outdoors Queensland Awards on 28 October.

It comes after it took out the Programs and Activities Award at the 2022 Australian Sport, Recreation and Play Innovation Awards in Melbourne in July.

The Council initiative, led by Community Development Officer Lisa Caruana, has also received high praise from local hiking enthusiasts who want to see the program continue.

EmpowHER, which went from February to June 2022 with a few extra walks in July, included 78 guided walks, 87 per cent of which were sold out before the program started.

It was popular with locals and visitors, with 408 women aged 10 to 76 participating in the heavily subsidised $15 walks, which were jointly funded by the Queensland Government’s ActiveKIT program, Health and Wellbeing Queensland and Council.

The purpose of the program was to empower women and girls to explore the region and build confidence, fitness and participation through hiking.

It aimed to increase the physical activity of women and girls by reducing barriers to participation including affordability, time flexibility, transport and self-motivation.

Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen said the award highlighted the EmpowHER Hiking Program’s value in creating opportunities for positive outdoor experiences.

“Scenic Rim Regional Council is proud to share EmpowHER’s success with our partners – ParkTours, O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat and Mt Barney Lodge – who delivered the program to the highest standards,” Mayor Christensen said.

Principal Specialist Community Development Kathy Forrest, who accepted the award on behalf of Council, said she was proud of the hard work the project team had committed over the past 18 months to designing, planning and implementing the EmpowHER program.

“The response to EmpowHER and its outcomes far exceeded Council’s expectations, with 87 per cent of the tickets selling before the program commenced in February and participation by some 408 individuals, most of whom booked more than one hike.”

“We hope the legacy of EmpowHER will be in encouraging more people to experience the outdoors in spectacular settings across the Scenic Rim.”

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