Kids (and their parents) yearning to get outdoors got a big helping hand in Early August at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market’s second annual Outsiders Ball. The event raised funds for a range of causes and charities focused on getting young people outside and active.
Catering to outdoor attendees of the tradeshow, the ball meshed entertainment and activity to create an interactive event, with participants treated to auctions, interactive art and live music. Artist and writer Jeremy Collins, who donated a painting to the silent auction, says: “I’m a dad, and I’m extremely fortunate to have a family that sleeps under the stars and climbs on rocks. I want to be a part of the equation of making that happen,” for others.
Chaco and Prana sponsored stations where attendees gave a suggested $10 donation for a webbing bracelet or a screen-printed tee, respectively. “It’s critical for us and the industry to keep people interested in an active outdoor lifestyle,” says Chip Coe, general manager of Chaco.
Three projects were highlighted during the festivities. “We wanted people to have a good time, but have them understand these projects and hear about them,” said Stasia Raines, director of marketing and communications for the Outdoor Foundation. “We intentionally made it the center of the event with the hope that that would be a focus of conversation and activity.”
Outdoor Foundation Executive Director Chris Fanning also announced a partnership with the National Park Service through the Challenge Cost Share initiative. The program will leverage public and private funds to support nonprofit projects that focus on urban outreach, youth engagement and connecting people to the outdoors. National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis, who spoke briefly at the Ball, joined in Fanning’s excitement. “We share this common goal,” Jarvis says. “It’s about our health; it’s about our planet; and it’s about this next generation.”
Next, four outdoor retailers took the stage, each offering a 30-second pitch for a non-profit, followed by an auction where people raised their paddles and donated sums up to $1,000.
Event sponsors included GSI Outdoors, Timberland, Primaloft, Confluence, Wolverine Worldwide, Gortex, Vasque, Thule and Periscope.