Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 16

PASSING IT ON
Most Outdoor Outreach
instructors are graduates
of the program.
proud of is that 75% of Outdoor Outreach
program staff and field directors are program
graduates. Most instructors are graduates of
Outdoor Outreach's summer leadership program,
an eight-week internship where they
learn outdoor skills and life skills, splitting
their time between the field and the classroom.
CPR, first aid, instructing the programs they've
participated in, public speaking, time management,
and financial literacy are all part of the
program. Participants can take those skills to
jobs in the outdoor industry or to an outdooreducator
position, and their experiences can be
put on a college application or résumé.
" There are a lot of barriers for low-income
communities and youth of color to getting
outdoors, from the high cost of gear and transportation
to the feeling that they don't belong
and aren't safe in outdoor spaces, " Sawyer says.
" Being instructed by kids who went to their
schools and come from their neighborhoods
instantly counters kids' feelings that beaches
and trails and mountains 'aren't for people
like me.' One of the most powerful pieces of
Outdoor Outreach programming is that myth
is busted from the first moment. "
Of 12 kids who completed the program last
year, five were hired as instructors. And Sawyer
says that Outdoor Outreach has considerably
more applicants for the field director training
program than they can accommodate.
About 60% of Outdoor Outreach participants
are high school-age kids. Most of the rest
are middle-schoolers, a few are elementaryage
kids, and this summer Outdoor Outreach
is also inviting families to join some programs.
" There's a dearth of programming for kids
in the high school age group, " says Sawyer.
" High school is a critical time when kids are
getting more independent, and they're making
decisions about gangs, substance use,
and other things that can impact them for the
rest of their lives. There are so many outside
pressures for high school-age kids. We strive
to create a space where kids can be kids while
they're also building solid support systems,
and where they meet people they can lean on
as they make life choices.
FOR OUTDOOR OUTREACH, SUCCESS ISN'T
just kids choosing a career in the outdoor
16 OUTDOOR RETAILER / July 2021
industry or identifying as a surfer. But the
organization does everything it can to make
sure kids who want to stick with a sport
over time can, and that their time in the
outdoors doesn't end when they graduate
high school. Brand partners including the
local climbing gym, The North Face, Jones
Snowboards, Hoka, Evo, and others support
Outdoor Outreach. So do individuals.
In 2020, California resident Maro LaBlance
of Campfire Collective gave $25 for every
pair of hiking boots a journalist agreed to
test-$800 total-to Outdoor Outreach, and
she's since been giving the organization pro
bono PR help.
" It takes a whole industry, " says Sawyer.
" We don't do this by ourselves. In the last year,
" BEING INSTRUCTED
BY KIDS WHO WENT TO
THEIR SCHOOLS AND
COME FROM THEIR
NEIGHBORHOODS
INSTANTLY COUNTERS
KIDS' FEELINGS THAT
BEACHES AND TRAILS
AND MOUNTAINS
'AREN'T FOR PEOPLE
LIKE ME.' " -ANNIE SAWYER
the industry has realized that it's up to us to
change the face of the outdoors. The way to
do that is on a personal level, sharing stories;
providing internships; supporting organizations
working toward diversifying the outdoor
space with gear and cash; and striving to make
folks of all backgrounds, races, and financial
levels feel safe and welcome. "
Though it's not the organization's end
goal, Sawyer says that a good number of
Outdoor Outreach graduates explore careers
in outdoor spaces. One graduate is headed to
Joshua Tree this summer for an internship
that he hopes will help him toward his goal of
becoming a park ranger. O.R.
-Reach out to annie.sawyer@outdooroutreach.org
to get involved with
Outdoor Outreach. outdooroutreach.com
Elh Ler Tha via Campfire Collective x2
http://www.outdooroutreach.com

Outdoor Retailer - July 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Outdoor Retailer - July 2021

Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 1
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 2
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 3
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 4
Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 5
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Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 7
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