The knowledge and real world experience Charlene brought to the table was unsurpassable, and no college or educational institute would be able to offer everything Charlene taught us in those few days. Our business, Black Diamond 4×4, has already had success implementing some of the marketing tips, and we are looking forward to our continued growth as we keep trying more features.

My ideals and goals for Lyft Offroad for the long term have grown and flourished. I just needed to know how exactly I should translate everything that was going on in my mind for my company and use it in the real world to create a thriving business. That’s where the Ladies Offroad Business Training came in. Charlene Bower selected a small group of off-road women that she recognized as being in a similar stage and would benefit from intensive training.

We had a short period of time to go over a TON of information, and Charlene wasted no time at all! There were a lot of topics covered, but Charlene was focused on going in depth on topics that answered specific business questions our group had. Our group consisted of 5 women who are new owners of off-road businesses, and the coolest part, is that we all specialize in something different. So, not only did we get to learn about new companies, but we also got to meet other women who are going through the same struggles and successes.

When this special participation was gifted to my boys and myself, up to that point never in my wildest dreams would I have even considered taking them to this location. They haven’t grown up off-roading. They’ve been slowly, and I mean baby step slowly, going on longer days and more challenging trails for the last 22 months. I wanted this so badly for all of us. I have tried to eliminate the past obstacles that have made the boys uneasy in my preparation.  My lack of personal knowledge of the actual trail has been a hindrance in helping me plan but I’ve been asking questions as best I could when I realized I had one.  I’ve been talking to the boys about expectations and story-boarding what will happen along the way.  Autism likes predictability and routine. This adventure offers neither.

My adventure actually started back at the end of April 2017 when I kept seeing posts on Facebook from Charlene to apply for the 2017 Ladies Offroad Challenge. I read through the whole thing and wow, my heart came alive when I read about the Achieve Tahoe event held on the famous Rubicon Trail. This particular event hits close to me because it serves the special needs community in a very unique way, and I so wanted to be a part of that.

LGE & CTS Motorsports is all that I really requested from Charlene. I wanted some California style! Paint with metal flake, gold leaf, custom designs, air ride, and hydraulics. There were so many cool vehicles in their shop, which is run by ladies. They had two full functioning paint booths with a mixing room with wild colors. Sara and Theresa had so many answers for a fellow lady in the automotive industry. I learned a great deal about organizing, employment, products, and quality control. They are still reaching out to help us learn. I have plans on doing more pinstriping after they spent time showing us the basics. At the end of the shop tours, we had dinner with Sara and Theresa who were happy to talk about their experiences as ladies in the automotive industry.

I learned so much in the short time of the Ladies Offroad Garage, but I definitely learned to be proud of the fact that I am a Garage Girl and that I am not alone in being one. I hope we can all come together and support each other knowing you aren’t alone in what you love to do. This event is one I will never forget and one that will never be duplicated.

There’s a certain confidence that comes with being able to work, fix and create things with your own two hands. I was fully expecting to get a good dose of that feeling when we visited The Fab School. It was so much more than I expected! There were tons of tolls and techniques that I hadn’t even heard of, but I wanted to learn them all. The knowledge and atmosphere was infectious. Between the shop and personal skills that we learned, I can’t think of a better way to set the tone for the rest of the weekend!

From learning MIG, TIG, and stick welding, to pinstriping a vehicle, to vehicle recovery, the skills that I never thought I would have the chance to learn were all given to me in this weekend, and I am forever grateful for that. I don’t know if I would have ever had the opportunities like I had this weekend, and I am excited to broaden my knowledge further and share my skills with those around me. This trip not only taught me new skills, but it deepened my understanding of the complexity of the off-road market. It opened my eyes to the value of a good product, the skillset that is required to make it happen, and the drive that these individuals have. I have gained a new level of confidence in the garage, that I am forever grateful for. 

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