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The "Adventure Lab" is an idea incubator and collaborative resource hub for women over 40 who are hungry to create epic adventures, even on a shoestring budget. With a focus on asset-building and mentoring, we deal with the whole person in a way that is inclusive, regardless of financial means, and that creates opportunities for women at risk both in our local communities, and in developing nations.

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Helping Jennifer Grow Gardens in Honour of My Mum’s 76th Birthday through our 27th Kiva Loan

June 18, 2016 in by Sue Braiden

Our Twenty-Seventh Kiva Entrepreneur - Jennifer in California - June 2016

Today would have been my mother’s 76th birthday. She was the original “Adventure Diva” and the inspiration behind the “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” project. She loved to garden. When we celebrated her life on the day of her funeral, we gave the friends and family who joined us baskets of “Forget-Me-Not” seeds to plant in her honour. My mum was also an entrepreneur who ran her own business, and she loved to give back to her community. That’s why I knew that Jennifer was the right Kiva entrepreneur to invest in today with our twenty-seventh “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” Kiva sponsorship.

Tomorrow is 90. Today’s the day to do it! (…or as Lorraine says: time to grab life by the balls!)

June 11, 2016 in , by Sue Braiden

Every now and then someone points me in the direction of an “Adventure Diva” that’s is just so full of sass that I end up with tears rolling down my cheeks for hours after from laughing so hard.

90-something New Yorker, Lorraine, is one of those sassy divas. She has a channel called “Ask My Neighbor Lorraine” on YouTube. She invites people to ask her questions, and she answers personally, full of hilarious irreverence, colourful epithets and all.

I wish I had this woman over the backyard fence. I’d invite her in for coffee every, single day … 😀

This is one of her tamer responses. Her parting words tell you all you need to know:

“Don’t forget: tomorrow is 90. Today’s the day to do it!”

Cut through the sass, and this woman’s figured out a thing or two in her 90+ years that the rest of us would do well to tap into <3

Letting go of trauma to clear the way for Adventure

May 17, 2016 in , by Sue Braiden

Sue Braiden, Rochelle Zohn, Ethan Zohn and Jenna Morasca

Twelve years ago I was attacked on a subway platform in Boston as more than twenty people stood by and watched.

No one intervened.

When I finally broke free from my attacker, and was running for the stairs, I fell. My hand was broken. I was crying, begging for help, but no one stopped. One by one, people disembarked the train, stepping over me, some on me, without ever looking back. When I finally reached street level, telling subway officials in the toll booths what had happened, they simply pointed me to a bank of 4 pay phones. 3 of them were broken.

No matter what I did, or who I asked, I could not get help.

May 17th has been in my calendar since 2004.

I’m not sure why I felt the need to hang onto it. Maybe to remind myself to be more vigilant (I made some stupid, tourist mistakes). Maybe to remember to be grateful that I’m still alive (especially given the very detailed account of what my attacker told me he was about to do to me). Mostly I think it’s just because I wasn’t ready to let go.

Somehow the trauma became part of what defined me. It’s also been one of my greatest blocks to getting on with the business of Adventures.

Come put your elbows on the kitchen table, and let’s talk about the ways we can stay safer as we’re creating happy experiences and memories …

God’s in the Clothing Business. No, really … (and he’s our 26th Kiva entrepreneur)

May 8, 2016 in by Sue Braiden

Our Twenty-Sixth Kiva Entrepreneur - God in Uganda - May 2016

God is involved in the business of selling first-hand clothes. No, really. And the Estrogen Army invested in him today. A young man in Hoima, Uganda raises his younger siblings with the help of his older brother. His name happens to be “God”, and he started a clothing business with the help of a small loan from his brother so that he can take care of the family.

God is our May “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” Kiva entrepreneur. While we usually fund female entrepreneurs over 40 who are working to lift themselves out of poverty in developing countries where it is very difficult to access traditional forms of funding, this departure seemed so right today. What better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than to help a young man who is having to be both mum and dad to his siblings?

God’s dream is to use the profits from his business to build a permanent house for his family, and we want to help him with that! He struggles with high transport costs to different markets, and trying to raise sufficient capital to buy the stock he needs. He is grateful for the help his brother gave him with a bit of money to get things started, and says he doesn’t want to disappoint him, and works extra hard to do well.

Through Kiva we were able to invest in God as part of a loan through HOFOKAM, a program targeting poor and geographically excluded populations in Western Uganda. In addition to loans, it provides social and business training programs to low-income entrepreneurs and their communities. Since 2003, HOFOKAM has provided sustainable financial and non-financial services to promote social, economic and sustainable land development and improve the quality of life for vulnerable populations.

God still needs help help closing the gap. Click through to learn more ….

Our Twenty-fifth Kiva Diva: Sarjita in Pakistan (April 2016)

April 30, 2016 in by Sue Braiden

Our Twenty-Fifth Kiva Entrepreneur - Sarjita in Pakistan - April 2016

Sajida is our April “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” Kiva entrepreneur. This is a particularly special investment. We tend to fund female entrepreneurs who are working to lift themselves out of poverty in developing countries where it is very difficult to access traditional forms of funding. This time we had an opportunity to help a woman who has been helping ensure that many others will have that same opportunity. Sajida runs a school to try to change the fate of children from low-income families living in Pakistan’s urban slums. More than 41% of her 261 students are females, an unprecedented number in an area where being a woman can mean education is denied. We’re helping Sajida expand and equip her school to make it a more inclusive and comfortable environment. She hopes to create a nurturing atmosphere to encourage even more students to attend.

J. K. Rowling on the Power of Failure and Imagination

March 31, 2016 in , , , by Sue Braiden

J. K. Rowling's inspiring commencement address to Harvard University graduates, June 5, 2008

As adventure divas we may be faced with similar fears: we’re too old, we don’t have enough money, we don’t have enough courage. These old scripts that we read from don’t serve us well. They become self-limiting beliefs, blocking the way to living our fullest lives. How can we possibly have great adventures when we are faced with such daunting challenges?

The power of two simple words — “what if?” — become wonderfully apparent when we look at the incredible journeys of other women who are just like us, and who have shaped inspiring adventures in spite of those challenges.

When I say “women just like us” we might not think of those who have eclipsed any sense of what our own “normal” might be. We might assume that people in positions of power, or lifestyles of privilege or status, are people to whom we could not possibly relate; and in doing so miss the lessons of kindred spirits whose paths started out very much like our own. One of those souls is author J.K. Rowling, one of the richest women in the world, and certainly one of the most renowned in our time.

Would you be surprised to learn that she came from a place of great poverty and suffering, endured domestic violence, and experienced spectacular failure? In spite of this, or perhaps fueled by it, she reinvented her life in inspiring ways, and it’s these experiences that shape the very moving commencement address that she gave to Harvard graduates on June 5th, 2008.

We don’t have to be 20-something to relate to Jo’s chat. Commencement is a wonderful world. It means “to begin”, and for many of us, entering this part of our journey feels like exactly that. In a way, when we enter “act two” in our lives — when our children have grown, when some of us might be retiring from lifelong careers, when we enter that sacred space that is finally “all about us” — we are graduating. And while we are graduating, really, from a lifetime of lessons, some of us may feel woefully ill-equipped to embrace this rich new time in our life.

Our Twenty-fourth Kiva Diva: Rita in Bolivia (March 2016)

March 28, 2016 in by Sue Braiden

Our Twenty-Fourth Kiva Entrepreneur - Rita in Bolivia - March 2016

Rita is our March “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” Kiva entrepreneur. This 51-year-old mother of 2 lives in Tarija, Bolivia, and has been making costume jewelry for a year now. She dreams of opening her own shop, and we’re helping her make it happen!

Our Twenty-third Kiva Diva: Natividad in Bolivia (February 2016)

February 29, 2016 in by Sue Braiden

Our Twenty-Third Kiva Entrepreneur - Navtividad in Bolivia - February 2016

Natividad is our February “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” Kiva entrepreneur. This 63-year-old widow and mother of 4 children lives in La Paz, Bolivia, and is rebooting her life after cataract surgery. She lives near a school and wants to open an internet centre at her house to make it available, and we’re helping her make it happen! Natividad still needs help help closing the gap …

Our Twenty-second Kiva Diva: Edith Beatriz in Bolivia (January 2016)

January 18, 2016 in by Sue Braiden

Edith Beatriz is our January “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” Kiva entrepreneur. This 60-year-old retired teacher from Tarija, Bolivia has a dream, and we’re helping her make it happen! Ever since she was very young she has wanted to have her own macrame weaving shop. She has the training, but the equipment is very expensive. We want to help put it within reach. Edith still needs help help closing the gap …

Ballet at 84! Carla Steenkamp Sheills’ Empowering Class.

November 25, 2015 in , , by Sue Braiden

Holy Estrogen Army moment, Batwoman! I had goosebumps watching this. Dance instructor Carla Steenkamp Sheills & her amazing pupils. The eldest is 84.

Holy Estrogen Army moment, Batwoman! I had goosebumps watching this! Think that’s a funny reaction? Watch this through to the end, and tell me when Prokofiev’s “Dance of the Knights” comes on you don’t get it. An empowering ballet class with dance tutor and choreographer, Carla Steenkamp Sheills, and her amazing pupils, the eldest who is 84!

Always so cool to find another micro-adventure to add to the Estrogen Army treasure chest. Dance is such a great way of reclaiming a vital part of our femininity when we get older and perhaps (for some of us) no longer feel as sensual as we once did <3

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