Together Outdoors (TO), a coalition committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of the outdoor recreation experience, commemorated its first anniversary with a look back at a year of progress, and a look ahead at new efforts to make the outdoors more accessible and welcoming for everyone.
More than 100 organizations joined TO in its first year – including the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), with representation on the TO Governance Council – with an initial focus on educating coalition members on the history of exclusionary practices in the outdoors and the challenges that remain for members of under-represented groups who seek to enjoy America’s outdoor spaces. TO’s debut learning tool was an eight-module online training program for outdoor companies, nonprofits, and land management agencies. Topics included insights into, and best practices for, hiring and retaining a diverse workforce, implementing DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) at all levels of the organization, and improving accessibility for the disabled.
“Together Outdoors was born as the result of outdoor industry leaders asking how they could help provide education and drive desperately needed change. TO’s first year was one of reflection, strategic planning and learning,” said Coalition Lead Gerry Seavo James. “With the support of our funders, member organizations, Governance Council, and Advisory Council, we have built a solid foundation and developed effective programs to help make the great outdoors great for everyone. We are proud of everything Together Outdoors has accomplished in its first year and are excited for what’s to come.”
“Together Outdoors’ mission to celebrate and share the joys and experiences found in the great outdoors with communities from different walks of life, experiences, and backgrounds is just the first step toward creating a more inclusive and welcoming outdoor recreation space,” said Kevin Williams, Vice President of Marketing at the National Marine Manufacturers Association and Together Outdoors Governance Council Member. “As we celebrate our one-year anniversary, this milestone marks the exciting next step in nurturing an environment where all are welcome and we look forward to continuing our partnerships with leaders across diverse spaces, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and historically marginalized people to create a better, more inclusive outdoor space.”
Together Outdoors’ new efforts build upon 12 months of work made possible by foundational and multi-year support from THOR Industries and the guidance of the Advisory Council and Governance Councils.
TO’s next phase is focused on helping members put what they’ve learned into practice, as well as launching more tools and programs to support its vital mission and to provide ways for the general public to become involved with the coalition’s efforts.
See more commentary and reflection from coalition members and partners here.