Join Dayton’s Adventure Chicks in the great outdoors

Fresh air and nature make a difference — Kristy Matheson can attest to that.

“A few years ago, I found myself in a really bad place. I was depressed, feeling blah,” Matheson said. “I started hiking and spending more time in nature, and it brought me out of a funk.”

The now avid hiker is sharing her love of all things outdoors with local women of all ages as the creator of Adventure Chicks — a group designed for like-minded women who share a love of adventure, nature and community.

“I feel like women are more free when they are around other women,” Matheson said. “I wanted to build a culture of encouragement and empowerment.”

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The concept for the group began a few years ago when Matheson and Dayton Hikers founder Andy Niekamp were co-leaders of a Women’s Wellness Adventure Retreat at Carter Caves State Resort Park.

“It was such an amazing experience, I felt like we needed to continue it and have more all-women’s adventures,” she said.

Matheson took the plunge in early December, starting a Facebook group. In less than a month, there were more than 200 members and multiple events planned, from hikes to ice skating and, even, an upcoming polar plunge.

“We want women to try new things and be part of a community of encouragement where there is no competition,” Matheson said.

Her own positive experiences outdoors are only part of what drives the group’s founder. Her work at hospice also provides significant motivation.

“Life is meant to be lived and you only have one chance,” she said. “You need to make the most of it.”

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Something for everyone

Even the pouring rain didn’t stop a recent four-mile Adventure Chicks hike at Sugarcreek Reserve, but the group isn’t limited to hikers. Events run the gamut from hikes to a contra dance party and an ice-skating social to snow tubing.

“We want to be a resource and provide opportunities for women to try new things,” Matheson said. “And, while I’m all for outdoor adventure activities, we’re open to all sorts of events.”

From regulars on the trail to fitness newbies, the group will offer events for all ages and ability levels.

“My mom had double knee replacement and she asked me ‘What can I do?’” Matheson said. “I told her ‘We’ll figure it out.’”

A mom of three, Matheson knows all too well that women frequently put the needs of their children ahead of their own, so she is also encouraging family-friendly events.

“I want moms to feel included, so there will be events where they can bring their little one,” she said.

Beyond fitness

While fitness and fun are at the core of the Adventure Chicks philosophy, so too is philanthropy.

“Being a social worker, service projects are important to me,” Matheson said. “This group is about service and community as well as adventure and fun.”

The group’s upcoming Polar Plunge, at Caesar Creek Lake, will benefit Special Olympics. Other fundraising events will be held in the future.

For more information about the group, visit Adventure Chicks on Facebook.


Jan. 11: Paint and Pose at Dabble Art Studio, Germantown

Jan. 12: Caesar Creek 4.5-mile hike at Flat Fork area, followed by lunch at Stonehouse Tavern, Waynesville

Jan. 20: 4-mile hike at Twin Creek MetroPark, Germantown

Feb. 16: Polar Plunge to support the Special Olympics, Caesar Creek State Park, Waynesville

Feb. 21: Snow Tubing at Perfect North Slopes

>> Find the Adventure Chicks on Facebook

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