When Outdoor Project officially decided to spend the entire month of June celebrating the beautiful, strong, and inspiring women of the outdoors, my mind nearly exploded with excitement, thoughts and questions...
1. YES, finally! 2. Let's call everyone in the industry and see if they want to join in! 3. Wait, it's already the end of April - how are we going to get this ready in time for a June 5th kick-off? 4. REI, Outside Magazine, and many others just did similar things...is it overdone? Would this be overkill? 5. No, there's always room for more female badassery in outdoor media.... 6. So, where to start? 7. What would I want to see from an outdoor resource doing a campaign like this? 8. How can we bring the community together rather than create more competition? 9. How can we make this the Best. Month. Ever??? 10. Oh my goodness, I am SOOOO excited!!
Once my mind settled down a bit and I had a chance to walk off my excitement, ideas and answers started to form - and with the help of my amazing OP team and some incredibly passionate individuals, brands, and organizations that I was lucky enough to work with, what you now know as #WomenInTheWild began to take shape.
When I initially reached out to our Contributor community at the beginning of May calling for #WomenInTheWild content, I wasn't really sure what to expect. Would people want to share their stories, their experiences, their lives? Would anyone be interested in taking part in the celebrations? My excitement for the campaign was sky-high, but what if no one else wanted to join in and add their voices? Luckily, these insecurities only lasted a few minutes before my inbox started filling up with content pitch ideas from our Contributors near and far, young and old, female and male - and soon enough, June's content calendar was full of amazing pieces on strength, vulnerability, adventure, family, fear, failure, success, travel, and so much more. There truly are no words to convey how appreciative and inspired I am with the open and adventurous community we've created here at Outdoor Project - so instead of trying to express my feelings, let's just dive straight into all of the wonderful stories, essays, anecdotes, and experiences that made up our #WomenInTheWild content this June:
We also asked for content from our campaign partners, and they happily shared their two cents....
Oh, the giveaways! If you didn't get the chance to enter to win any of our #WomenInTheWild contests, you truly missed out; with over $5,000 worth of gear up for grabs throughout June from some of our favorite brands and organizations, both woman-specific and not, there was a palpable buzz within the Outdoor Project community all month long. The giveaways were separated into five different packages: Trail Running, Beach Life, Hiking and Backpacking, Mountain Biking, and Powder Days. In addition to the giveaways, we held a week-long #WomenInTheWild contest on Instagram featuring more than $1,000 worth of swag, gear, trips, and fun! In total, over 13,000 people entered these contests - but only six winners emerged in the end...thank you to everyone who entered, and congratulations to the lucky winners!
And none of this would have been possible without the help, support, encouragement, and donations from some incredibly stellar outdoor brands, organizations, and businesses from around the country! In no particular order, we would like to thank these old and new friends who helped make this June a month to remember!
In all, I had way too much fun coordinating this campaign, and somehow my stoke-levels are now even higher than I once thought physically possible. There really is nothing like bringing your passions, work ethic, and favorite brands together into a month-long smorgasbord of celebrations around outdoor women, especially when the ladies involved - ranging from contributors, featured athletes and personalities, company CEOs, and outdoor pioneers - were SO badass!
This month was just a glimpse into the world of women in the outdoors, but there are still so many amazing and inspiring stories to be shared as we continue to stoke the flames and help close the gender gap in outdoor media. We at Outdoor Project are strong believers that there is no such thing as too many #WomenInTheWild; and while our giveaways may have come to an end, that doesn't mean that our love for all things outdoors and community have.
As we dug deep into the world of #WomenInTheWild this June, it became staggeringly apparent that while there is still a lot of work to be done with creating a level playing field for women, ladies are not the only ones to be lacking their fair share of the spotlight - and in reality, there are much larger (and more troublesome) issues plaguing our favorite places, and industry as a whole.
When it comes down to it, it shouldn't matter what your gender, race, size, age, sexuality, religion, etc. is - what matters is that every person has the chance to get outside and experience the greatness that Mother Nature holds. Good things come from people spending time outside. It’s about more than standing on the mountain top. It’s about nourishment and learning. It’s about protecting what sustains us. It’s about building relationships with the outdoors and each other. It's about making the outdoors a place of inclusion, a place of opportunity for everyone.
We're lucky enough to be a platform for YOUR voices, and we hope to continue sharing real stories, personal experiences, and tales of struggle and success for many, many months to come!