I knew Sam Sablich was a force to be reckoned with the minute I met her. At the time, we were both attending Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and I was always impressed by Sam's work ethic, fun personality, and ability to make anyone feel comfortable instantly. She always seems ready to tackle any adventure and have a blast along the way.
Fast forward almost eight years, many cities, and a few jobs later, and we finally had the chance to catch up again. Sam is cooler than I even remembered. Not only does she have a killer job at Trek Bicycle Company, she is the founder of Milwaukee Adventure Girls, a community of like-minded women who share a passion for being healthy and getting outside. She hosts get-togethers for women to try something outdoorsy – think hiking, snowshoeing, kayaking, etc. – in a setting where they can feel comfortable, share knowledge, and have a ton of fun along the way.
Check out my Q&A with Sam to find out more about her and Milwaukee Adventure Girls:
My Midwest Is Showing: What inspired you to start Milwaukee Adventure Girls?
Sam Sablich: I started Milwaukee Adventure Girls three winters ago, after I was gifted a brand new pair of snowshoes for Christmas, and quickly realized I had no one to go snowshoeing with. Although I had friends who shared my passion for the outdoors, I realized that not everyone I knew possessed the gear to do every outdoor activity that I was interested in. I thought it would be a great idea to start a group, where women could connect with each other to get outside and try new things together, swap gear, or get advice from one another.
MMWIS: What kind of adventures do you go on?
SS: So far, all of our adventures are local. We do group hikes in the Greater Milwaukee area, paddles down the Milwaukee River, yoga classes, group climbs, and we've even done an aerobics class at an indoor trampoline park! I'm looking forward to getting into some downhill skiing, tubing, and ice skating later this winter.
MMWIS: Favorite adventure you've been on?
SS: I would say our group Lady Paddles with Milwaukee Kayak Company have been the best bonding experiences. It was so amazing to meet so many women, many who had never kayaked before. I felt so good to know that my group inspired them to get out of their comfort zone and try something new for the very first time.
MMWIS: What's the key to having a great adventure?
SS: Positive and open minds from everyone and zero judgement.
MMWIS: Are boys ever allowed?
SS: Milwaukee Adventure Girls is not really a "girls only" club. It was just founded on the idea that women should have a comfortable place to try new things, without judgement. Although I've been super passionate about the outdoors my entire life, I never really had the "skills" when it came to camping, climbing, or mountaineering, until I started my job at Erehwon Mountain Outfitter in college. Pretty quickly after starting that job, I realized that being a woman and being new to the outdoor recreation lifestyle was very intimidating. With this fact in mind, I decided to focus my group on women, but that doesn't mean that girls can't bring their husbands, boyfriends, brothers, sons, or whoever they want. Everyone is welcome.
MMWIS: Why do you think it's important for girls to have adventures together?
SS: There are no shortage of reasons why it is important for women to connect in the outdoors. But one of the main reasons is that it helps us remember how strong, independent, and capable we are of trying new things, hard things, and succeeding at them. I think it gives us strength and confidence, and also really helps women connect and bond in a really pure and healthy way.
MMWIS: If someone wanted to join you on an adventure, how would they do it?
MMWIS: What's your day job?
SS: I am a Visual Merchandiser for Trek Bicycle Company. It's a pretty new gig, and I'm absolutely loving it. I finally get to combine my background/degree and my passion for a healthy lifestyle. I get to travel all over the country to make bike shops look awesome, and meet amazing people while doing it. I've had a passion for working in the outdoor industry for years, and am so lucky to have found such an amazing company in essentially my back yard. I am getting into cycling now (obviously) and hope to plan some group rides this spring with Milwaukee Adventure Girls!
MMWIS: If someone was visiting Wisconsin for the first time, what would you tell them to do first?
SS: I would tell them to check out Holy Hill Basilica and the Kettle Moraine Northern Unit, which is right around where I grew up. That part of the state has a part of my soul forever, and it will always feel like home to me. I still go hiking and boating out there quite a bit, and never really get bored of it.
MMWIS: Favorite thing about the Midwest?
SS: The people! I've noticed more and more with traveling so often that the Midwest really just has a special charm about it. The people are friendly and never hesitate to say Good Morning on a walking path, which I think is amazing, and something that we probably all take for granted.
MMWIS: How does your Midwest show through your personality and/or what you do?
SS: I'm a Wisconsin girl through and through. As much as I love to promote a healthy lifestyle through Milwaukee Adventure Girls, I am all about balance, and am the first person to want a Riverwest Stein and some cheese curds while I'm watching the Packers. I also just love to promote my city. I've lived in Milwaukee my whole life, but I always find something new about it that I want to share with the world. Milwaukee may be small, but if you take the time to explore it and meet people, you will soon realize that we are not a flyover city at all. We have such great culture, history, food, local art and music, and parks, all right here.