USA Hosts All Women’s Hike Outside DC to Kick Off Tradeswomen Build Nations Conference
More than 130 union tradeswomen from 19 states as well as Canada and Denmark came together on December 1 for the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) All-Women’s Hike at Great Falls Park in McLean, Virginia, to kick off the 13th Annual Tradeswomen Build Nations Conference (TWBN)—the largest gathering of tradeswomen in the world.
Located 15 miles from Capitol Hill, Great Falls Park features breathtaking views of rushing falls and cascades where the Potomac River travels through the Mather Gorge. Participants loaded on buses, sponsored by the Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Mason’s International Association (OPCMIA), in DC at 8 a.m. and headed to the park for a short hike on the River Trail before returning for the start of the conference.
“This is such an amazing opportunity, such a blessing,” said Victoria Sutherland, a member of Ironworkers Local 482 from Austin, Texas, as she stood atop a boulder overlooking the river. “Always go off the beaten path—that’s what we do. This is a great chance to get with my other sisters from across the nation and Canada.”
The women who participated in the hike represented 13 different union trades—cement masons, electrical workers, insulators, ironworkers, painters, carpenters, laborers, plumbers and pipefitters, bricklayers, machinists, elevator constructors, operating engineers, and sheet metal workers.
These women are breaking barriers and paving the way for other women in the trades,” said USA Communications Manager Kate Nation. “They are just the type of women we need to inspire the next generation, especially young girls, to pursue outdoor sports like hiking, fishing, hunting, and camping and put their skills and knowledge to work for conservation.”
“I had a great time with the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance on an awesome trail walk,” said Whitney Chandler of Cement Masons Local 518 out of Kansas City. “I got a chance to meet some awesome ladies from all different locals across the USA, and I got to see natural resources formed by glaciers. I learned so much and can’t wait to do it again.”
Everyone who participated in the hike was entered in a drawing for an outdoor prize package sponsored by UnitedHealthcare. Valued at more than $1,200, the package included a sleeping bag, camp stove, backpack, hydration pack, and Danner boots. Kimberly McGraw of Laborers Local 238 from Spokane, Washington, was drawn as the lucky winner.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with how the hiking event turned out. Registration filled up so quickly, we had to reserve a third bus and order additional gift bags—a terrific problem to have,” said USA CEO and Executive Director Walt Ingram. “We greatly appreciate the support we received from North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU), OPCMIA International, and UnitedHealthcare to organize a memorable event for a group of incredible women.”