Monday, March 16, 2015

Diversity in the Outdoors

Stacy Bare was the keynote speaker at the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education Conference in 2014. I've been to several of these conferences over the years, but this is the first keynote that wasn't just was important.

Stacy's speach about inclusion in adventure education wasn't short or quick and the video I have embedded here is over an hour long. But the content was really important, especially for those of us who work in the outdoor industry.

Following a bio of Stacy Bare, followed by a video of his keynote address.

Stacy Bare is the Director of the Sierra Club Outdoors Program and a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year for 2014. Prior to working with the Sierra Club, Stacy served one tour of duty in Iraq as a Civil Affairs Team Leader, a tour in Bosnia leading a counter-terrorism team, and spent nearly two years in Angola and Abkhazia as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician. He has spent several years working on issues related to public health and the outdoors as well as increasing access for all people into wild and mild places outdoors. In his spare time, he is a skier, climber, mountaineer, and sometimes surfer. He received his commission into the Army from the University of Mississippi in philosophy and has a masters degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Urban Design, proving yet again, that the best thing to do with an Ivy League degree is take a hike. Stacy is also an ambassador for The North Face and he and his wife make their home in Salt Lake City, UT. 

In the coming years, Outdoor Recreation Educators have an opportunity to become leaders in the field of Public Health and ensuring we have a fit, healthy, and empathetic country. Shifting demographics and an increasingly more technology oriented client base can either create a defensive posture to try and react to, or we can see it as an opportunity to build and grow our programs. To 'point positive' and build strong, however, we need to change the way we do business to ensure all people, regardless of race, color, adaptive requirements, gender identity, religion, sexual preference, and veteran status feel welcome not just at the trail head, but on the trail. Making the changes required to create such powerful programs may feel frightening and even alienating to your existing customers and clients, however, making programs more accepting and ensuring risk management (physical and emotional) procedures are universal will, in the short and long run, create better programming for your 'average' customer. Looking for help along the way? Check out your student veterans. 

Here is the official AORE Press Release, announcing Keynote Speaker, Stacy Bare! Please share with friends, colleagues and media outlets! 

Stacy's keynote was a home run and he delivered an energizing and challenging message for each AORE member and organization. Stacy has been kind enough to allow us to share his keynote on the AORE website for viewing. Take the time now and in the future to capture that spark again, invigorate your spirit and encourage others in your department and organization to check out his talk!

--Jason D. Martin

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