Women’s Trip 2018 Bridgette R.

Oh, this trip.  What a unique adventure. What a talented group of women.  What an amazing mission.  What an unforgettable experience.  I will be forever grateful for the memories, for the friends, and for all that I learned.  It will help me be a better paddler, a better RN, a better friend, a better wife, a better (future) mother.  The river is healing, the clean crisp air, the running water, the trees, the beautiful canyon, the stars.  The river doesn’t care if you’ve out on weight due to stress.  The river doesn’t care if you’ve got paddling experience.  The river doesn’t care if you’re not the experienced outdoorsy type.  The river doesn’t care if you’ve got nice clothes.  The river just wants you visit every now and again.  This trip gave me hope.  This trip inspired me.  This trip saved my life.  The 5 days on the San Juan with this amazing group of women reignited my flame.  I am excited to share it with the world. 
-Bridgette Ruppenthal

Vanessa Jones

Committe Co-Chair

Vanessa A. Jones is a dynamic force dedicated to fostering
inclusivity, encouraging discussion, and promoting a culture of
belonging in the outdoor sports community. Hailing from
Washington, DC, she brings a wealth of diverse experiences and
perspectives to her endeavors.
As a US Army veteran and ordained Chaplain with a focus on
seniors and caretakers, Vanessa is deeply committed to serving
others. Her work as a patient-caretaker advocate reflects her
passion for supporting vulnerable populations and ensuring their
voices are heard.
Currently, Vanessa is employed by a resettlement agency, where
she confronts challenges head-on with resilience and
compassion. As a single, Black woman veteran, she embraces
the unique hurdles she faces, viewing them as opportunities for
growth and empowerment.
In her downtime, she wears many hats, including that of a
missionary, spreading hope and positivity wherever she goes.
Weekends are spent paddling, immersing herself in West African
dance and finding solace and joy in nature’s embrace.
Vanessa is committed to equitable principles, ensuring that
everyone’s opinions are valued and heard. Through her
unwavering dedication and inclusive leadership, Vanessa is
paving the way for a more equitable and diverse outdoor sports