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Creating Inclusivity in the Outdoor Industry Culture

1) There is a push for inclusivity in the Outdoor Industry

Inclusivity is a great cause. Companies are tackling a known issue that has been going on for a while in the outdoor space. I’ve been seeing many grassroots organizations popping up with causes for inclusivity, especially in regards to ethnic cultures: African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans, to name a few.


2) Too many organizations are blurring their vision with their purpose

When you blur these lines, you make it hard to have a measurable goal and easy to lose your trajectory. The measurable goal is your vision statement. Your trajectory corresponds to your purpose. If your vision relates to inclusivity, it should target your demographic with a goal people can get behind. For example, a Latino organization wanting to see more Latinos in the outdoors might have a vision statement: “See 1,000 Latino Youths outfitted and trained for hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.” Their mission might be broader, to see Latino representation in the outdoor industry. 

A vision statement is specific, measurable, and doable. 

3) Your purpose needs to be value-based. 

The purpose is broader in its execution but more specific in regards to its values. Why should there be more Latino representation in the outdoor community? Is it because the Latino culture can shape the Outdoor culture for the better? Is it because the outdoors can heal, or invigorate or shape in some other way the Latino culture? 

“Latinos need to be outdoors because there isn’t enough representation.” This isn’t a cause; it’s a statement. Not many can rally behind this sort of statement because there is no purpose. The ones who do appreciate it are merely filling in the gaps with what they see as the value. You need to answer “Why” in a compelling way. 

Why is the representation of Latinos in the outdoor community outstanding? And don’t say because with representation comes better ideas and innovation. That is true, but it still doesn’t answer the why of your specific idea: Latinos. 


4) The back and forth between core values and outward actions is what strengthens culture.

Culture supercharges both a brand and a workplace environment. Now that you understand your why (purpose) and what (vision/mission), you can develop a culture strategy. When clear values have clear actions, you create a cycle. Every cycle strengthens your culture.

5) How it works in the wild.

Using the same example above, let’s say a Latino Organization’s worldview was that the Latino culture could enrich the outdoor community. The action associated with that view would be something that enriched the outdoor community. How can this happen?

Here’s a specific example. Latino cultures are typically more community-centric than the prevailing culture in the outdoor community. Don’t misunderstand me; this is a comparative statement. A community mindset is already quite stable in outdoor culture. Still, Latino culture can take it to a higher level in the realm of codependence. You can see that in the way Latino cultures talk, eat, and interact with one another. 

What would happen if a backpacking outing took on a more Mexican bar-b-q at the park kind of vibe? What if people packed their food as a codependent community. Each person brings a different part of the meal. When you made dinner for the night, the community would have a higher sense of codependence than the typical individual meals commonly found on the trail. 

Again, don’t get me wrong, I’ve shared many food items with others on the trail, but I don’t typically pack food that’s dependent on those around me. I’m more “you pack in what you need, and sharing is a welcome gesture.” But this is an example of how cultures can assimilate to one another for the better of both. It makes the culture more familiar for the minority while elevating the values already set in the majority culture.

And this isn’t just something that happens just around food. What if codependence infused how we approached gear or hiking long trails where we depended on other groups on the trail? 


Culture is shared values across a community of people and manifests in words, looks, and actions. It’s up to business owners to lead the charge in the culture they want their business to have. Culture is a more significant influencer than both brands and products.

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