Outdoor Retailer Summer Market is months away, but the organizers of the Outsiders Ball already are driving a conversation about how to get youth engaged in both protecting the outdoors and recreating outside.
They’re doing so with a series of YouTube videos featuring industry leaders like OIA’s Frank Hugelmeyer, Teva’s Joel Heath and Prana’s Beaver Theodosakis, as well as young leaders in the industry.
“This is the most critical issue,” Hugelmeyer, president and CEO at the Outdoor Industry Association, says in the video, while a Rihanna song plays in the background. “We have to do much more to be reflective of the face of America, or we risk being irrelevant.”
Other footage features young leaders like North Face Ambassador Juan Martinez. He notes that kids who don’t get outside might want to, but face challenges and barriers.
Stasia Raines, spokesperson for Outdoor Nation, said the videos allow a younger generation to hear both from industry insiders in their own age group as well as experienced leaders.
“There are so many iconic people who are still in our industry who started it,” Raines said. “This was a great opportunity to capture those stories and bring in those new voices.”
Raines said the event has signed on even more sponsors than we last reported, and is close to its $300,000 fundraising goal — as of Tuesday, they had raised $275,000. Now, Raines said, the group is focusing on getting folks to purchase individual tickets to the event, which will take place on the eve of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. Tickets cost $150 each for everybody except retailers, who get a $50 discount.
“We’re so excited,” Raines said. “We have a really incredible team that’s helping our auction team, host team and creative team. They’re all doing such a phenomenal job at pulling off this great event.”
To watch the series of videos, visit the YouTube page, and for updates on the event follow it on Twitter and “Like” the Facebook page.
“If we want the next generation to be in the outdoors, and, honestly, if we want a customer tomorrow, we better get on this today,” Heath said. “It’s time for the next generation to take over. and the Outsiders Ball is that platform where the next generation of leaders in the industry start to shine.”