The future work of a woman will be wide, and her task important. What centuries, millenia, have broken and neglected, that all will be corrected and mended by her.
– Minna Canth
This week, on the 19th of March, Finland celebrated Minna Canth’s Day – also the Day of Social Equality. Minna was a Finnish writer and the first female Finnish-speaking journalist, as well as the first woman to have a flag day in her honor in Finland. She demanded education for girls and spoke for general equality. Her written plays and outspoken advocacy contributed to Finland’s early adoption of female rights. Finland was among the first in the world to give women the right to vote and run for office!
On Wednesday the 19th, I was finishing up a trip with a nonprofit student travel company I work for called Global Explorers. The group was from Fossil Ridge High School in Fort Collins, Colorado, and for 5 days, we explored the beautiful seaside wildlife of Point Reyes National Seashore. I was struck by the passion and strength of these ten students, especially some of the girls. Liz took the tongs and expertly grilled up dinner. Dani told me about her dream of working with elephants. I watched as Maria, eyes wide after she helped cut the antlers off of a dead Tully Elk, realize her potential as a wildlife biologist. Angelina gave a speech – the kind of speech that every Outdoor Educator lives for – about faith in youth and working together to pull up the future of the planet. She spoke so passionately, it made me cry. It seems fitting that this trip occurred the same week that Finland celebrated Minna Canth.
A note that Angelina left me truly struck home. The last sentence read:
“You’ve handed me a piece of the world I never knew existed; thank you for that.”
These trips are important. These girls are important. This week, I celebrate Minna Canth and her amazing advocacy, and the passion of young people. I can’t wait to see where they take us next.