by Heather Mundt and Erin Kirkland
Every year since 1996, the Outdoor Retailer (OR) Summer Market trade show in Salt Lake City has been the hub for like-minded gear heads and outdoor enthusiasts to gather in the Salt Palace Convention Center and learn about the latest, most innovative outdoor products for the following year’s summer season.
But this year’s Market (August 3 – 6) was extra special for Outdoor Families Magazine because it was the place where all four core members?Jennifer Fontaine, Erin Kirkland, Traci Lehman and Heather Mundt and a new addition to the team, met in person for the first time in nearly two years of publishing the magazine.
That new team addition? Contributor and new OFM gear editor Melissa Edge drove from her Moab home to join us. And we speak for all five of us that (thankfully) we all gelled as much in person as we have over the phone and Internet lines.
The highlight for the group, however, was watching OFM Founder Extraordinaire Jennifer Fontaine moderate a panel discussion on the outdoor industry’s current and future roles in supporting, encouraging and empowering families to connect children to the outdoors.
Panelists included Shawn Parry, Teton Sports?vice president of marketing and design; Grace Lee, National Park Trust executive director; Stasia Raines, Outdoor Foundation ; Tom Adams, Utah State Governor’s Office director of outdoor recreation; Ann Krcik, The North Face senior director of brand communications and outdoor exploration; Scott Welch, Columbia Sportswear senior global manager of corporate relations; and Erin Kirkland, OFM managing editor.
?Having the opportunity to sit on Outdoor Families Magazine’s Outdoor Retailer panel created an important dialogue between our collective groups, Welch said. Columbia has proudly put its best proprietary technology into its toddler and youth activewear, and our youth product design team now recognizes the added importance of focusing awareness on getting youth outside.
Forming stronger industry-wide coalitions, and creating enriching experiences for a diverse community of kids and parents to come together in the outdoors is one way Columbia looks to expand on the message that Outdoor Families Magazine delivers to its readers daily, he says.
This educational panel intended to start a dialogue with the outdoor industry to address how we can better serve the outdoor family and youth markets to empower kids and their parents to get outside more, Fontaine says, beyond the Outdoor Retailer shows.
I would say we were successful in parlaying that goal into a productive and informative discussion, but this is just the beginning, she says. We still have a lot of work to do and we’ll go further when we band together to create a more inclusive outdoor community.?
Watch the entire panel discussion on the Outdoor Retailer’s YouTube Channel
With that in mind, Outdoor Families Magazine is launching an #everyfamilyoutdoors campaign in 2017. Join us in our mission to promote getting every parent?from the mom who just needs to enjoy fresh air with her newborn to the one who’s just getting back into shape, from the dad yogi to the elite marathoneroutside with his or her kids or grandkids. Every. Family. Outdoors.
Finally, the Outdoor Retailer story would not be complete without sending a giant thanks to our sponsors, who made it possible for our group to be at the event, starting with KOA Kampgrounds, which hosted us for the week and Get Outfitted, which supplied our tents/camping gear. As well, we should thank Coleman and Melitta for providing cooking gear and the lifeblood of our crew, coffee.
Here is a complete list of sponsors:
- Kampgrounds of America
- Teton Sports
- Krimson Klover
- Dick’s Sporting Goods
- Action Wipes
- Eco Vessel
- New Zealand Jerky
- Popcorn, Indiana
- Bare Snacks
- Dumbo Lounge Sack
- Honey Stinger
- Good Health Snacks
- Action Wipes