The coalition enters its second year emboldened with over 100 members and launching new initiatives to create a more accessible and welcoming outdoor space
WASHINGTON, August 25, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Together Outdoors (TO), a coalition dedicated to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of outdoor recreation, celebrated its first anniversary by looking back at a year of progress and looking forward to the future new efforts to make nature more accessible and welcoming to all.
More than 100 organizations joined TO in its first year, with an initial focus on educating coalition members about the history of exclusionary outdoor practices and the challenges that remain for members of underrepresented groups seeking to enjoy America’s outdoors. TO’s first learning tool was an eight-module online training program for outdoor businesses, nonprofits, and land management agencies. Topics included insights and best practices for hiring and retaining a diverse workforce, implementing DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) at all levels of the organization, and improving accessibility for the disabled.
“Together Outdoors was formed as a result of outdoor industry leaders asking how they could help provide education and drive much-needed change. TO’s first year has been one of reflection, strategic planning and learning,” said Coalition Lead Gerry Seavo James. “With the support of our funders, affiliates, Governance Council and Advisory Council, we have laid a strong foundation and developed effective programs to help make the great outdoors great for all. We’re proud of everything Together Outdoors has achieved in its first year and excited for what’s to come.” Read more of Gerry’s thoughts on TO’s first year here.
Together Outdoors’ new effort builds on 12 months of work made possible by the fundamental and multi-year support of THOR Industries and the guidance of our Advisory Board and Governance Councils.
The next phase of TO is focused on helping members put what they have learned into practice, as well as rolling out additional tools and programs to support their important mission and provide opportunities for the public to get involved in the coalition’s efforts.
New Together Outdoors initiatives include:
Resource Hub Beta Launch – This innovative online database offers a wealth of curated information on building an outdoor community that includes everyone. These materials include books, articles, research papers, videos, podcasts, and toolkits. In addition, the hub includes a directory of inclusion-related outdoor organizations, a directory for funding opportunities, and the ability to host web-based training programs. The platform will be launched as a beta, with user feedback forming the basis for upgrades and improvements.
Inclusive Spaces Program – Together Outdoors, in partnership with the Trust for Public Land, is piloting a program designed to help recreational space operators and public land management agencies improve accessibility and inclusion in their spaces. Findings from the pilot program conducted in Chattanooga, TN Region, used to develop best practices in all areas of outdoor operations, including the design of physical facilities, staff training, storytelling, and the language used in print materials and signage.
Branding and Merchandise – Together Outdoors is pleased to unveil its new logo, which visually conveys the Coalition’s message of accessibility and inclusion. The new online store features branded clothing that allows people to show their support for TO and a more approachable and welcoming nature to all people.
Grants Program – TO recently launched a grants program designed to help frontline organizations build a more accessible and welcoming outdoor ecosystem, thanks to the support of THOR Industries and Winnebago Industries. To help offset the marginalization of marginalized communities in the grant process, TO’s criteria will prioritize individuals from those communities and organizations led by members of those groups.
Additional comments and reflections from coalition members and partners can be found below and here.
“The first year of Together Outdoors has been a powerful bringing together of many insightful voices from across the outdoor landscape,” said Danica Carey, Seirus Innovation, Director of Marketing Operations. “I’m now entering her second year and I’m very confident that the strong leadership of GerryJames supported by the ORR team, this network of resources and collaboration will continue to grow. There is a great foundation here for building the communities needed to drive the cultural shift that is critical for all of us to thrive in the future.”
“We are proud to be a member of the Together Outdoors Governance Council, which has given Brunswick Corporation a unique opportunity to work with our peers across the outdoor industry to advance our common goals of equal access to our public spaces and water bodies,” he said Lee GordonVice President of Communications and Public Affairs, Brunswick Corporation.
“Together Outdoors’ mission to celebrate and share the joys and experiences of the great outdoors with communities from diverse walks of life, experiences and backgrounds is just the first step in creating a more inclusive and welcoming outdoor recreation space,” said Kevin Williams, Vice President of Marketing for the National Marine Manufacturers Association and a member of the Together Outdoors Governance Council. “As we celebrate our one-year anniversary, this milestone marks the exciting next step in fostering an environment where all are welcome, and we look forward to continuing our partnerships with leaders from diverse sectors, members of the LGBTQIA+ community and historically excluded people create a better, more inclusive outdoor space.”
“Together Outdoors has been a great resource for Polaris as we focus on connecting with new, diverse customer groups and inviting them to participate in powersports,” said Tommy HillmanSenior Marketing Director at Polaris. “Together Outdoors has provided a forum that allows us to connect with other outdoors-focused organizations that are on a similar path, where we can learn from each other’s experiences and discuss best practices.”
Together Outdoors is an initiative under the auspices of ORR that promotes an environment where all people have access to inviting outdoor leisure experiences. We pursue this work through engagement, partnership and education across all segments of the outdoor community.
Outdoor Recreation Roundtable is the nation’s premier coalition of outdoor recreation trade associations representing the $689 billion outdoor recreation economy. ORR focuses on the growth of outdoor leisure by creating a better environment for the sustainable growth of outdoor leisure businesses and driving a broader understanding of the value of the outdoor leisure economy. Our membership includes members of national outdoor trade associations, corporations, nonprofits and universities serving more than 110,000 businesses and America’s boating, fishing, RV, biking, hiking, camping, hunting, ATV, diving -, equestrian and ski communities represent many more.
SOURCE Together outdoors; Round table for outdoor recreation