Gear Forward: Give the Gift of the Outdoors

Now that Will and I have a kiddo of our own, our conversations frequently turn towards the future as a life of three. One of the topics that we continue to revisit is our good fortune. Will and I were both raised by parents who {still!} are married and had the means to give us a good life. We got to do a little traveling; we were given college educations; we rarely wanted for anything.

Liliana is blessed with that same good fortune. We birthed her later in life {I’m almost 36} so we’re both established in our careers and in our relationship. Baby Girl will more-than-likely live a life of privilege as a white kid growing up in an affluent Colorado suburb. Her parents have the means to give her what she needs; she will never want for any of her essentials, and truth be told, she will never want for reasonable luxuries either. As it stands now, she will experience a dozen airplane flights, thousands of American road trip miles, three countries, ten states, and at least five national parks before her first birthday. If that’s not privilege, I don’t know what is.

This is why our continued conversation focuses on how we can ensure that she realizes her privilege and understands that not all of the world is afforded the luxuries and experiences that she will receive. We’ve talked about taking her on some volunteer trips, and I am really hoping to bring her back to Haiti with me one day soon. While she couldn’t make the trip to Pine Ridge this past December due to immunizations, she will certainly be coming next December so she can see the American world outside of her bubble.

We definitely don’t have all the answers yet, but we’re trying to continue this conversation as she grows. This is why I love the mission behind Gear Forward and it immediately caught my attention.

What is Gear Forward?

Gear Forward aims to help youth who won’t be given these opportunities. If Liliana didn’t have parents with the means to get her outside or a surplus of gear to make camping comfortable, it’s likely that she would never get those mountain experiences. For many kids, that is the reality. They may even live within 30 minutes of a campground but they’ll never step foot in it because they simply don’t have the opportunity.

Gear Forward is closing this gap in a number of ways. First, they regularly accept gently-used gear donations to pay forward to kiddos in need. A couple tent donations can mean the world to a group of girls who want to sleep under the stars!

Secondly, they are always accepting financial donations. These funds are used for the same mission: to help get kiddos outside.

Personally, Will and I have a basement full of gear, a lot of which we will never use again. When I stumbled on Gear Forward on my Facebook feed, I messaged the founder and asked him what type of gear he could use. He basically said that anything goes, so I’m gradually creating a pile in our basement that we plan on sending his way. If our extra tents and sleeping bags help get a 12-year-old into the mountains for a night or two, the extra effort is more than worth it.


Want to help out with a gear donation? Check out Gear Forward’s website for more details.



1 Comment

  • Reply Sara at

    Thanks for sharing about this group. What a fantastic organization!

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