El Groupo Youth Cycling and Living Streets Alliance wanted to find a way to get more young people in the Tuscon, Ariz. area outside and riding bikes. So they created a project they called Kidical Mass, Tuscon — a fun, family-friendly group ride.
The idea was that comfort in numbers encourages people to explore, break out of their routine and try something new, such as riding a bike with kids for the first time. The free events targeted underserved neighborhoods, and provided access to helmets and safety training in addition to young ambassadors, who helped new cyclists feel comfortable at the event.
To date, Kidical Mass has gotten almost 400 people outside, 200 of whom had never spent time riding a bike, for 5,412 hours. The organizers have no intention of putting on the brakes, with five events on the calendar this summer and fall.
The Kidical Mass project, like 400 others across the U.S., was made possible in part by a grant from Outdoor Nation. This is a national movement started by the Outdoor Foundation, activating and empowering Millennial Generation leaders to get outside and engage their communities in outdoor recreation. The charitable arm of Outdoor Industry Association, The Outdoor Foundation is taking the lead nationally to inspire and empower a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts.
Kidical Mass is one of 100 Outdoor Nation projects that will be showcased at the Outsiders Ball, a first-of-its-kind event that will rally the outdoor industry around a single cause — fighting the growing divide between young people and nature.
On July 30, the eve of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, industry leaders are joining the Outdoor Foundation to spearhead an unforgettable, interactive and fun evening at the Gallivan Center: a party with a purpose. Outsiders Ball promises not only to be an epic party, but most importantly, one that will ensure that more than 100 projects like Kidical Mass will continue.
As first reported in SNEWS, retailers will take center stage as well as work with The Outdoor Foundation to identify the best projects that deserve support. During the event, retailers will promote projects in short pitches, encouraging attendees to kick in a few more dollars for their local nonprofits. Throughout the evening, guests will interact with one another in a range of interactive experiences — all for a great cause.
Outsiders Ball already has the support from some of the industry’s top brands. Founding partners include: Outdoor Retailer, Outdoor Industry Association, The Conservation Fund, The North Face, Thule, Wolverine Worldwide Foundation, Chaco, Confluence Watersports, Vasque, GORE-TEX Brand, Gramicci, Mountain Equipment Co-Op, Timberland, GSI Outdoor, Burton, prAna, Recreation Boating and Fishing Foundation, Big City Mountaineers, JanSport, Petzl and River Sports Outfitters.
With exclusive content and features, SNEWS is the industry’s source for following the ball with weekly updates, announcements and more, leading up the event. Next week, we will introduce a series of video interviews with industry icons — people like Skip Yowell, Jennifer Mull, Todd Spaletto, Jim Zwiers, Bill Sweasy and Chris Sharma. They will answer questions about who has influenced them the most to get outside, their thoughts on youth engagement in the outdoors and the evolution of the industry.
On April 17, Backpacker Magazine will begin featuring an Outdoor Nation project each day on Facebook in its 100 Projects in 100 Days leading up to Outsiders Ball. Followers can "like" their favorite project and the one with the most likes will receive additional funding.
Learn more about Outsiders Ball — how to get involved and purchase tickets.