Monday, March 20, 2023

Organizer devotes time to building female friendships

Daily Inter Lake | February 6, 2023 12:00 AM

Laurie McCargar moved to Whitefish just after her 47th birthday alone. She had never cross country skied, mountain biked or downhill skied.

Over a decade later, McCargar dedicates her time — often outdoors — to building a community for women in the Flathead Valley through Outsiety, a group that holds free and local events for women.

These events for women range from outdoor activities to simple hangouts — skinning, crocheting, coffee dates, hikes, biking and fishing — to encourage and empower female friendships.

“[That move] kind of shifted a lot in me that reinforced something that I wanted to do many years prior which was doing something positive for women,” McCargar said.

McCargar grew up in Southern California and has lived in a multitude of places, but Whitefish has been home for over a decade now to her and her dog Cody. Just over 5 feet tall, McCargar carries a big personality. She has a “girl cave” in her garage with a projector and padded floors for movie nights and on the walls are home-built bike racks and a gold surfboard, shining with sparkles and detailed with flowers.

McCargar did not have an easy childhood. She was not close with her parents, but found a lot of female empowerment through Girl Scouts — a consistent throughout her life that she attributes as an inspiration — as well as her aunt. Now 58, McCargar says she takes that empowerment to be a participant in her own life, rather than wait around for life to happen to her.

Outsiety already existed here, but McCargar took over the group around seven years ago after the original creator moved out of the state. McCargar says she wanted to lead the group due to her passion and hope for the future of female friendships.

Previously, Outsiety was primarily an outdoors womens group, but McCargar expanded it to help women feel comfortable with each other, whether that be during an outdoor activity or a simple cup of coffee. People can host events, free of charge, to encourage female friendships and group activities.

“It’s not a job that I am going to and going home from,” McCargar said. “It is my core.”

Any woman in the Flathead can reach out to host an event. They require two hosts to ensure for at least a small turnout, and the activities can range from cross country skiing in Round Meadows to a round of Bunco in someone’s living room. She expressed that this is a way to expand circles by doing what “you would have already done with a friend or by yourself.”

Outsiety is not loosely designed, McCaragar said. She hosts events, encouraging people to sign up and show up, embracing intentionality between women. The events are often very inclusive too: kids and dogs are often allowed, women of all ages can come, and the activities are for any range of skill — from beginner to expert.

“We all do have something powerful to give back to each other, whether we believe it or not,” McCaragar said regarding getting women together from different walks of life.

There are now many women who repeatedly show up to Outsiety events.

McCargar said more and more women are offering to host events, and more and more women continue to show up. Showing up is important to McCargar — it shows intention.

While McCargar’s day job is working as an independent contractor assisting businesses with organization and efficiency, her passion remains Outsiety. She’s excited to see it gaining momentum.

She dreams of expanding Outsiety beyond the Flathead Valley, possibly by road tripping in her self-modified 1972 Travel Trailer to celebrate her 60th birthday. For a woman who went from being on welfare to above average income, McCargar says the trick is staying true to who you are — and to pick up the women around you.

“I am a go big or go home dreamer,” McCargar said. “But that this was a dream I really wanted to come true.”

To host an event with Outsiety or to RSVP to an event, go to or email

Reporter Kate Heston can be reached at 758-4459 or

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