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I always thought it would be so rad for REI to start a mentoring program. I know a lot of people that just need that last push over the edge to get outside, and I know a lot of people would love another reason to get out there more. There seems to be a ton of people asking to be taken camping!
@Bonfire We are excited to have this community as a place where we can collect ideas, suggestions and feedback, so thanks for this post! Curious what an REI mentoring program might look like to you - what components would be important? Although we don't currently have a formal mentoring program, our classes/events/experiences are typically focused on how we help get people outside. Also, I always recommend checking in with your local store, if you have one nearby, because our stores are often doing unique things to engage their local communities.
@REI-JenK It would be awesome to have an online bulletin board where people who aren’t prone to activities could post their ideal weekend trip, hike, or experience, and maybe someone else could make it happen or reach out if they were already doing it? Almost like a platonic dating site but just for going in to the woods. As I’m typing I’m already seeing how this would be taken advantage of, but I dunno. Maybe some screening? Meet at an REI meetup and plan a trip? Just some ideas. I’d be totally willing to take some newbie camping if they pitched in for gas and food!
I second @Bonfire's suggestion. I've taken some of REI's classes and they provided a great intro. I think the mentoring program could be the next step in a newbie's journey to get outdoors more while also building community.
I'd love to see something like this for Salt Lake City (if there isn't already one created). I see several women posting in online Facebook groups and trying to find mentors for rock climbing. I would envision it as of course not a guided endeavor if it's set up by individuals to meet more friends, but perhaps just an opportunity to get individuals together (especially if their competency levels are varied).
Are there a lot of climbing gyms there? The gym near my house in Chicago has a bunch of women climbing groups and Wednesdays it is "Women Crush Wednesdays".
Not trying to mansplain, haha. Just not sure what your gym situation is. 🙂
Our hiking club offers some beginner backpacking shake downs (going over equipment and supplies) and hikes. A member of our club is in charge of it but, a number of other members help with it. Classes at REI are great for starting out. Plus, there's so much available online, at outdoor gear stores, and more.
I concur that some sort of mentoring thing would be amazing! Especially for places where there aren't outdoor stores that have planned activities, or the stores have them infrequently.
Some meetup groups serve a similar purpose with people of mixed experience levels doing activities together but you aren't guaranteed to find that in every city or area. The local happenings part of this site could serve a similar purpose.
Obviously there are some potential safety issues but it could be interesting