Hurricane Harvey was the costliest tropical cyclone on record, inflicting nearly $200 billion in damage, breaking the previous record set by Hurricane Katrina, primarily from widespread flooding in the Houston metropolitan area. It was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Wilma in 2005, ending a record 12-year span in which no hurricanes made landfall at such an intensity in the country. In a four-day period, many areas received more than 40 inches (100 cm) of rain as the system slowly meandered over eastern Texas and adjacent waters, causing catastrophic flooding. With peak accumulations of 64.58 in (164.0 cm), Harvey was the wettest tropical cyclone on record in the United States. The resulting floods inundated hundreds of thousands of homes, displaced more than 30,000 people, and prompted more than 17,000 rescues. (wikipedia)
Within the destruction of this storm were fifty families all with young boys who were participating in the scouting program as Cub Scouts in the suburb of Houston, Katy, Texas. All of the families were adversely impacted by this storm and the historic flooding that followed driving almost every family from their home and losing most, if not all of their possessions... including the boys camping gear. Not only did the families lose their camping gear, the school that the boys attended and held their pack meetings in was also flooded along with the nearby camping area that the boys used for overnight camp outs.
On September 22, 2017, Stephanie Bell a mom of one of the young boys and a leader within Pack 585 reached out to Gear Forward seeking assistance to help identify avenues to assist the families replace the outdoor gear that had sat in flood waters for ten days. Gear Forward was honored to take on the challenge to work with the pack in Katy, Texas and get these young boys on the road to recovery and back to the outdoors.
Gear Forward in consultation with Ms. Bell identified that the boys and Pack needed fifty (50) youth sleeping bags, 10-15 adult sleeping bags and a host of family-sized tents to allow for the Dens, Packs and families to return to camping this coming spring.
Gear Forward began a campaign to tell the story of these young boys and the struggle their families were presently engaged in. Quickly, the outdoor community began to take notice and donations of sleeping bags, tents, camp mats and other needed supplies began to be shipped from people all around the United States to Katy, Texas to begin to replenish what was lost. While the donations were heartfelt and amazing to see the need for the boys was great and Gear Forward in tandem with the call for unused gear created a online fundraising campaign. The intention behind the campaign was to generate enough funds to allow Gear Forward to purchase brand new sleeping bags for all fifty (50) boys.
The Facebook fundraiser lasted three weeks with a campaign goal of $1,000. Once again the outdoor community and friends of Gear Forward delivered by helping us exceed our goal and raise $1,215. While the campaign was a huge success and would surely allow for Gear Forward to purchase the needed sleeping bags for the boys, the need for the tents by the Pack still weighed heavily as we approached the end of the campaign.
As the fundraising campaign neared to a close, Gear Forward received a call from HMW Outdoors. Mr. White, who heads up the outdoor outfitter specifically designed for youth engaged in outdoor activities wanted to help Gear Forward reach our goal of outfitting the pack. HMW Outdoors offered to donate all fifty (50) sleeping bags to Gear Forward for the pack. This donation would alleviate the need for Gear Forward to use the raised funds for sleeping bags and allow Gear Forward to complete the entire request for gear by purchasing new tents. As you will see in the video below, to the surprise of Gear Forward, HMW Outdoors not only donated sleeping bags, they also outfitted each cub scout with a mat, a stuff sack, a camp pillow and a water bottle.
On Tuesday, November 14, 2017 the Pack met for their regular monthly meeting and was presented with not only sleeping bags, but camp pads, pillows, water bottles and stuff sacks all provided by HMW Outdoors via Gear Forward. Just fifty-three (53) days since Gear Forward was notified of the need of the Pack, gear was delivered to the boys. Gear Forward is still working to purchase the necessary tents for the Pack and Dens and is also working to direct other gear for the adult leaders and parent to ensure that everyone has what they need to camp this spring.
Gear Forward would like to thank the outdoor community who donated gear and money to this campaign as well provide a special thank you to HMW Outdoors for going above and beyond by donating a large amount of gear to help fulfill this need.
We wish the best to the young scouters of Pack 585 and their parents as they embark on new adventures again this spring. Happy camping boys!
Today’s youth are exposed to a variety of negative factors making them more at risk to injury, academic failure and poor health. Teens are likely to be more at risk when they lack a strong support system. Many face economic, social and emotional issues. Limitless Transition Services is, “an organization that helps young adults who are @risk acquire self-worth and learn necessary skills to transition into adulthood.” Founder and Director, Nicole Broberg and Associate Director Annie Munk, have dedicated themselves to help these kids develop the tools they need to enter adulthood equipped to be successful.
Limitless Transition Services provides opportunities for growth through experiential activities. LTS works closely with these kids to assist them through academic requirements for high school graduation. They also provide real world business skills by manufacturing and selling their own line of flavored salts. Salt of the Earth, are blended gourmet salts blended and bottled by the kids who then market the product online and in local farmer markets. Being involved in a functioning business setting, the kids learn real world skills that will aid their transition to adulthood and enter the job market with marketable skills. One of the other essential experiential activities that LTS facilitates is adventure opportunities. Nicole and Annie have provided an environment where these kids can be involved in a safe and welcoming peer group. Spending much of their own resources to outfit the kids is difficult.
Gear Forward’s mission to “Outfit the Next Generation of Adventurers”, has partnered with various groups working with youth by providing the gear needed to get outside and experience the great outdoors. Often, kids without the financial resources to have basic outdoor gear are unable to be involved in having adventure and outdoor opportunities. At Gear Forward we believe every kid deserves a backpack, sleeping bag and tent, the fundamental items to allow them to escape momentarily in the wilderness.
Gear Forward has partnered with a variety of sources to get the resources and gear to outfit our next generation of adventurers. One such partner is HydroBlu. Located in the West Jordan, Utah at the foot of the Wasatch Front mountain range, HydroBlu has designed and manufactures water filtration systems for outdoor enthusiasts. Aaron Kirkham, Marketing Manager for HydroBlu was eager to help Gear Forward when learning of our mission and our desire to help Limitless Transition Services. HydroBlu generously donated backpacks and a pressurized water filtration system for the group. Aaron also mentioned a desire and commitment to help with future needs for Gear Forward.
Gear Forward is a grass roots organization. All it takes to make a difference in a young person’s life is for someone to donate a gently used or new item of outdoor gear. There is enough surplus gear sitting in people’s basements, sheds and garages to easily outfit a generation of kids. There are also costs associated in logistics, financial donations are also needed and greatly appreciated. You can also show your support by buying a Gear Forward sticker or T-shirt. All proceeds go directly to outfit the kids. In addition to individual efforts, partnerships with companies like HydroBlu who may have factory blemished items or excess inventory available can also make a world of difference.
Gear Forward is a 501(3c) charitable organization. All donations are tax deductible. If you would like to make a difference by helping Gear Forward assist organizations like Limitless Transition Services, The Boy and Girl Scouts of America and many others. Please visit our website at www.gearforward.org and get hold of one of our Ambassadors if you would like to engage Gear Forward.
There is a day for everything and everyone and today is the day for those of us who were determined young men who strived for excellence and earned our Eagle Scout rank as a Boy Scout. Why is today National Eagle Scout Day, you may ask. On August 1, 1912, the first Eagle board of review was held for a young man named Arthur Eldred. Arthur became the first Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts, only two years after the Boy Scouts was founded. Since the inception of the BSA, over two million young men have achieved this highest of honors within the Program, and I am proud to be one of them.
I have always been amazed by the fabric of those at a young willing to cast aside distractions of youth to move towards this goal. Others around the perspective Eagle Scout will always support the young man's desire and advise him on the real value of the rank that won't be delivered for many years to come. This weird mixture of the pull of adolescence and the desire to be something more, to separate from the pack and to show who you really are inside at a young age is quite extraordinary feat. This test at a young age has produced some amazing men, statesmen, astronauts, businessmen and just extraordinary human beings.
I shall always be indebted to my Scoutmasters, my scouting community, the first class Camp Yawgoog, my family and the older scouts before me who all provided support and direction to help me achieve this honor. I am an Eagle and always will be, for this I thank all of you. Gear Forward quite simply is my way of saying thanks to all those that supported me and made me the man I am. Gear Forward is my Adult Eagle Scout Project to ensure the next generation of adventurers are equipped to reach this highest honor as well. No matter one's economic or social background, those that want to get outside and become the best man or woman they want... should have the resources to do so.
Achieving the rank and status an Eagle Scout is a serious endeavor. One of my former bosses once said "When you take on a job you take on the responsibility that goes along with it". Well, this is me taking on the responsibility of my rank, and ensuring that I do my good deed daily. There are tens of thousands of young boys and girls who want to be outside, but don't have what they need to explore, experience nature and hone their outdoor skills, Gear Forward is here to satisfy that need.
If you are an Eagle Scout, today I ask... Have you done a good deed today? If not, find a way to give back and make the world a better place.
Executive Director, Gear Forward
Eagle Scout, 1993
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Gear Forward was recently designated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a non-profit organization under IRS Section 501 (c) (3). Gear Forward is an organization focused on collecting gently used and new outdoor gear for donation to youth in need who participate in outdoor themed non-profit organizations. Over the course of the last year and a half, Gear Forward has helped hundreds of youth in need from Portland, Oregon to Pennsylvania and many points in between.
This new designation formalizes Gear Forward and brings about unlimited opportunities for the organization to sustain itself to ensure its mission of outfitting the next generation of adventurers becomes a reality. “This is a game changer for Gear Forward, we are so excited to broaden our reach and work with the outdoor community at large to help kids in need around the United States” Mr. Scott Gauvin, Executive Director, Gear Forward.
Gear Forward is the only organization that works from coast to coast to satisfy outdoor gear needs for youth who have a desire to participate in outdoor activities that may not have the proper resources to do so.
With the continued cooperation of our existing sponsors and potential for new sponsors with this designation, Gear Forward will seek to grow a larger network of giving supported by the outdoor community and its Gear Forward Ambassadors around the United States.
Gear Forward is pleased to announce another partnership with a gear company who has a passion for building great gear and for giving back as well. Multimok is a company who manufactures a very interesting hammock, like nothing you have ever seen before. Based in Utah, Multimok creates hammocks that are both rugged yet comfortable.
Curious about the Multimok? Here is some information from their site to peak your interest.
If you understand the advantages of a multi-tool you'll quickly see why the patent pending multimok is for you. Sure, it can be used like a regular hammock, but the ways it can be configured are too many to count. Use it as a chair, a taut surface, a bed, a double hammock, a canopy, a monkey bridge, a pack, a gear sack, a tree stand, etc. When you realize what a multimok can do, you'll have one in your grab-and-go gear for camping, relaxing or just for wandering the great outdoors.
The multimok is not contending in the lightweight division of hammocks. We're dominating the heavyweights. The multimok for adults will easily hold loads of 2500lbs. This allows the Multimok to be tasked with the most challenging requirements—in any variety of settings—for solo or double occupancy.
Everyone needs a place to hang. With a multimok, almost anywhere can be that place. The Multimok is an upgrade to a parachute hammock and solves many of the traditional challenges of hammocking. Once you have a multimok you'll discover that you can easily remove other gear from your camping and hiking arsenal, like; a camp chair, a tent, a ladder, a bed, a camping pad, an underquilt, a canopy and more.
So… you interested now? Good! Let us explain how the Gear Forward and Multimok partnership works and how it benefits you and kids in need. After taking a peek at the Multimok website and making a decision to purchase a hammock from them, if you visit hammockexchange.com and follow the instructions by sending them your gently used parachute style hammock, Multimok will provide you a $50 dollar credit towards your new Multimok hammock.
After your transaction is completed, Multimok will coordinate with Gear Forward and donate your hammock to us. Gear Forward will work outdoor themed non-profit organizations around the United States to ensure your hammock ends up in the hands of a needy youth. What could be simpler?
For more information visit Multimok.com or hammockexchange.com
So, you have heard about Gear Forward, this is awesome. Now you are wondering what being a Gear Forward Ambassador is all about. Being an ambassador sounds kinda cool doesn't it? The Gear Forward Ambassador Program was established to further the reach of Gear Forward, our mission and goal. Our present Ambassadors are from all around the United States. Gear Forward's goal is to have an Ambassador in each state and maybe more in some states that require more attention based on needs.
So what does a Gear Forward Ambassador (GFA) do? At a minimum a GFA promotes Gear Forward on their social media platforms, websites and blogs if the GFA maintains a public profile and works in their local area to promote awareness of our mission.
In addition to promoting Gear Forward, the GFA is charged with engaging their local outdoor community of which they usually are already heavily engaged. The GFA is encouraged to work within their outdoor community to develop opportunities to generate gear donations and more importantly identify gear needs within organizations that support getting kids outdoors. Gear Forward is all about keeping local gear donations local to help those kids in need where the gear came from.
Creativity and thinking big are definitely encouraged in the GFA Program. Meeting our goal in each state may look different, but as long as kids in need get the gear they need to get outdoors... then we have met our goal.
As GFA's, you will pass along the opportunity to get outdoors and the appreciation for nature and being in the wild. While this is a volunteer opportunity, being able to give back in this way is more then payment for your efforts. From time to time as a GFA you will have the opportunity to personally deliver donated gear to host organizations in need, usually directly to the kids in need. This experience is something very special, that you will remember for a long time. A sleeping bag or tent is something you may use while on a weekend camping trip or hike, but to a child who doesn't have his/her own it is the key to adventure.
In the future, Gear Forward and our partners will be offering ways for GFA's to collaborate together, exchange ideas on how to generate needs and offers of donated gear as well as opportunities to get outdoors ourselves. Yes, we need to have our fun too. Opportunities to get outdoors together like this will remind us all why we are a part of this organization. Constant reflection of the people, organizations and opportunities we had when we were kids that led us to a life of appreciation of the outdoors will keep us motivated to help the next generation.
If this opportunity sounds like something you are interested in, please visit our Gear Forward Ambassadors page to apply.
Executive Director, Gear Forward
Our partners who are a part of the LHX2017 trip are working hard to get ready for thier adventure as well as provide you the outdoor community at large some amazing offers on new gear while helping Gear Forward in the process. Check out these offers from these amazing brands!
Here is a list of all of the great deals:
In addition to these deals LHX crew member Hiker Steve will be donating $0.25 for every “Summit Selfie” that is submitted to his site from now until April. How simple is this? You probably take tons of pics everyday! Send one to Steve and help Gear Forward at the same time. Want more of an incentive to send Steve your pic? Several people have offered to match his donation to Gear Forward if he reachs $100.00. If you send a pic to Steve you also will be entered into a contest to win a hammock package.
To learn more visit Hiker Steve’s website.
Another great offer is from our Board Member Mr. Adam Nutting aka HikingTheTrail. Adam will be donating $5 out of his own pocket every time that someone uses the LHX2017 discount code to purchase gear on the Teton Sports website. Talk about a win, win! You purchase some amazing gear from Teton Sports at a discount and Gear Forward gets funds to help us equip our next generation out outdoor adventurers. Shop Teton Gear Now!
Thanks for all your support!
Growing up in Scouts we had plenty of time to go camping, but in Tiger Cubs we did not do a lot of camping as a group. We might have gone on a couple overnights but I do not think there were many. We did use it for “Cub Weekend” at Camp Geiger our local Boy Scout camp for one night.
I remember the first tent my parents purchased for the family. It was a normal family tent. It was grey in color had windows that you could unzip and we mostly pitched it in the backyard for “camping”. I am sure my first campout ended up with everyone back in the basement before the sun came up the next morning.
That tent was a spaceship, a fort, a jail, just a tent on occasion, and so many other fantastic things the imagination of a 6 year old could dream up. To this day when I smell that musty dusty old tent smell I am instantly transported back to my parents back yard to that tent.
As the years progressed I continued to camp and use either the Troop’s tents or we had switched to smaller two or three person tents for scout outings. Without my first tent I would not have fell in love with listening to the crickets chirp on a muggy hot Missouri nights, falling asleep to the locusts (cicadas) buzzing, and telling stories around the campfire.
Adam is the owner of Hiking The Trail, Co-Founder of Epic Social Adventures and a Member of the Board of Directors of Gear Forward.
Gear Forward is proud to annouce a new partnership with UST - Ultimate Survival Technologies and is humbled to recently have recieved a large cache of outdoor items that will be soon donated to youth in need. We are truly grateful for the continued support of the outdoor community, retailers and manufacturers like UST who give to help those in need. UST donated the following items to Gear Forward in the past week:
5 UST All Weather Tarps
12 Survival Reflect Tents
12 PackWare Mess Kits
12 Watertight First Aid Kits
20 UST WayPoint Compasses
60 Splash Flash Lights
60 Emergency Ponchos
We are very thankful for these items, as they are the first of thier kind to be donated to Gear Forward and will be put to good use by the youngsters who recieve them.
Just a little over a year ago the Gear Forward was just a concept, without a name, a online presence or a Facebook page. A year later, with your support we have made a huge impact in the lives of the youngsters we have donated outdoor items to.
While we may have not met every goal we set out over the course of our first year, we are still fullfilling every need that is presented to us via the relationships we have and the new relationships we are making every day in the outdoor community. 2016 was a proof of concept that Gear Forward is needed and works. Today, because of generous donations and out network kids who didn't have the resources to get outdoors now do. This what keeps us at Gear Forward going, simply making a difference in the lives of those that want to get outside.
In 2016 (our first year of operation) Gear Forward Recieved and Donated:
22 Sleeping Bags
In 2016 (our first year of operation) Gear Forward Recieved:
24 Hiking Sticks
5 UST All Weather Tarps
12 Survival Reflect Tents
12 PackWare Mess Kits
12 Watertight First Aid Kits
20 UST WayPoint Compasses
60 Splash Flights
60 Emergency Ponchos
In 2016 (our first year of operation) Gear Forward made donations to or recieved (gear of fianancial donations) from 16 states.
Gear Forward would not have been able to accomplish the above with the outdoor community at large who donates a singular piece of gear at a time or the retailers or manufacturers who offer up additional gear in times of great need. In addtion to these groups there are some amazing people and organazations that need to be recognized for their continued support, guidance and hard work on behalf of Gear Forward in 2016.
A huge and humble thank you to:
Mr. Adam Nutting - Gear Forward Board Member / Hikingthetrail.com
Mr. Brian Ford - Gear Forward Board Member / Hikebyfaith.com
Mr. Shawn Parry and Teton Sports
The LHX2017 Crew
Brush Mountain Outdoors
The Backpacker TV
Finally, a huge thank you to my wife and family for supporting me in this endeavor to give back and execute my adult Eage Project.
Thanks for an amazing year, Happy New Year and see you in 2017!
In an effort to ensure that Gear Forward meets our goal of accepting donations from or providing donations to all fifty states by the end of 2016 and stock our shelves for the rush of donations requests we anticipate in early 2017 we have created the Gear Forward Giving Tree. Our giving tree program is all about providing a multitude of options for people to donate to Gear Forward and help support youth in need around the country who desire to be outside.
So, how can you help? Our traditional methods of assistance still apply, so if you have a sleeping bag, tent or backpack that is still in good and usable condition we will be happy to accept it by simply filling out the form here.
Another option for donating to Gear Forward while out and about this season is to simply pick up a gift card to an outdoor retailer or even a department store that sells outdoor gear items. If you purchase a gift card please contact us to let us to arrange for shipping. The gift card will be utilized to purchase gear to then be shipped to youth in need who are a part of an outdoor themed organization.
The Gear Forward Giving Tree allows people who wish to directly impact youth in need two ways to donate. You can financially donate an amount to allow Gear Forward to purchase a new sleeping bag, tent or backpack to help youth in need or purchase a piece of gear for donation while out and about shopping.
If you wish to help Gear Forward financially to purchase gear:
Tent - $100.00
Sleeping Bag - $30.00
Backpack - $60.00
To donate to Gear Forward as part of our Giving Tree Program click here.
If you have purchased new gear to donate to Gear Forward please fill out the form to donate the new gear.
Watch the Gear Forward website and Facebook page to monitor our progress.
Thank you for your continued support!