TETON Sports and Gear Forward Partner-Up
From the inception of the #yourlead van idea we, here at TETON Sports, wanted it to be more about just adventure and fun; we wanted to give back and help others experience the outdoors. We toyed with a number of ideas on how that would work and what we could do before finally coming to rest on a very obvious partnership with our friends at Gear Forward. As we talked with Gear Forward and discussed how to partner-up, we hatched a plan: the TETON Sports #yourlead van would be the vehicle (literally) to help bring exposure and excitement in what would effectively become a trade-in program.
- The #yourlead van will collect any and all donations of old packs and camping gear, still in a good shape and usable.
- TETON Sports will trade out the used gear with new, TETON Sports, gear.
- A photo will be taken of the one making the donation, along with their donation
- Gear Forward then finds a home for the donated gear with someone in need of quality and usable outdoor gear.
- A photo is taken of the recipient and the donor and recipient are virtually paired up, completing the circuit.
To kickstart this campaign we decided to donate a handful of gear (in this case 54 packs and 12 tents). Gear Forward lined us up with the Boy Scouts of America here in SLC, UT. We took the #yourlead van across town loaded with gear to make the dropoff. During the dropoff we were able to speak with Denovan Lino who was in charge of helping set up receiving the donations on BSA’s behalf. We asked him a few questions about the importance of donations, Gear Forward and his work with BSA.
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Interview (italics denote our questions and Denovan Lino’s responses follow):
How long have you been with BSA?
I have been with the BSA 11 years as a professional, but I have also been a volunteer much longer as an Assistant Scout Master, Scout Master, Commissioner, and Committee member. I was also a boy Scout myself and achieved the Eagle Scout rank.
How important are donations to BSA and how are they used?
The donations for the are extremely important to the Great Salt Lake Council All Markets Initiative. These donations will benefit many of our youth that don’t have the means to purchase these expensive items. We currently work with refugee, low-income, and in some cases youth who are homeless. These items allow them to be able to participate fully of the Scouting program and giving them the opportunity to enjoy our great outdoors. Thanks to your tents we now have the opportunity to attend Bear Lake a have a place for the youth to sleep in, the pack will allow our youth to prepare for hikes and experience the beauty of nature and learn from the outdoors. We could not have done it with out [TETON Sports’] help.
Can you share a time or experience that stand out to you, when a donation helped or enhanced a youth’s experience in the outdoors?
Our refugee youth have been given the opportunity to attend one of our high adventure camps in NM, Philmont Scout ranch. We received a letter from the camp letting us know that they would give us some posts for our youth, however, we were just starting our units so we had no gear for our boys. Thanks to [TETON Sports’] donations now we have Hiking packs and hydration packs for our youth to train and attend the camp next year. This year we will be taking several of our refugee youth to Bear Lake Aquatics camp, they had not tens and thanks to your donation they can now camp using the gift you gave them. It is people like you that offer these kind of donations that allows our youth to experience the full program of Scouting.
Gear Forward is a nonprofit aimed at helping collect gently used outdoor gear and providing that gear to organizations, like BSA, who can help youth who may not have access to adequate gear for outdoor exploration and education. How did your connection with Gear Forward start?
I got a phone call from Scott who is the Executive Director for Gear Forward and he shared his vision with me, as we talked I shared the vision of the Great Salt Lake Council All Markets program and realized that we were a great fit and that we would be able to fulfill each other’s vision. I can truly say that this was the phone call we had been waiting for. Gear Forward then connected us with TETON Sports and we created a great partnership between all three groups.
If someone wants to get involved they can make a donation directly to Gear Forward, but they can also donate directly to the BSA organization, correct? What are some things people may need to know to donate to BSA?
I would encourage people to get in contact with Gear Forward as I strongly believe in what they do and have been a recipient of it. People are also welcome to donate gear to their local Boy Scout council, most councils in America have a division that is dedicated to helping our low-income youth. These kind of donations allow us to help these youth and ensure that they have an opportunity to participate in all aspects of our outdoor programs. They are more than welcome to contact their local council and ask to talk to the Executive over the outreach programs to see what items may be needed.
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For more information on how to get involved, please visit Gear Forward!