It’s the end of 2018 and the beginning of another year. As we look back at what was an amazing year for Gear Forward we take pause to remember all of those who have donated to our cause, the continued and new partnerships formed and the kids we have helped to discover the outdoors.
Towards the end of 2017 Gear Forward addressed a need for a Cub Scout Pack in Katy, Texas. This was the largest gear need undertaken by our non-profit at the time. To satisfy this need Gear Forward created it’s first online Facebook fundraiser to raise the necessary funds to purchase fifty sleeping bags for all of the youth impacted by Hurricane Harvey in late 2017. The fundraiser was a huge success and lead to a gear company donating a significant amount of gear to the boys in addition to the items procured by Gear Forward. Having proven the fundraising tool as a resource this option provided Gear Forward another avenue to address non-traditional or larger scale needs in the upcoming year.
In 2018, Gear Forward raised nearly $8,500 in donations via Facebook fundraisers via direct need fundraisers, general fundraisers and birthday fundraisers for Gear Forward that were created by supporters of Gear Forward. These funds directly supported the purchase of sleeping bags and tents for the USC Troy Camp in California, Girl Scout Troops in Minnesota for the purchase of tents, a Boy Scout Troop in Puerto Rico who were impacted by Hurricane Maria in late 2017, and to provide outdoor essentials (swimsuits, towels, bugspray, suntan lotion and duffle bags) for underprivileged youth attending the 4-day summer camp experience at Camp Care-A-Lot in our hometown of Springfield, IL, just to name a few.
In addition to assisting youth with outdoor gear deficiencies in places like Colorado, New York, New Jersey, and Tennessee we also gave back to our veterans this Veterans day weekend by sleeping outdoors in a cardboard box to raise funds for homeless veterans in Springfield, IL. Our supporters once again came through and not only reached our goal but exceeded our fundraising goal and raised a total of $1,050. These funds were provided to the Fifth Street Renaissance to complete renovations on a new family and female veteran home for homeless veterans.
Our year could not have been what it was without the support of outdoor enthusiasts who continually support Gear Forward financially, allowing us to make necessary purchases for youth outdoor organizations when on-hand gear doesn’t meet the need or specific items are required to fulfill the gear gap. In addition to our individual supporters, we can’t forget the many new partnerships we have developed and continued to foster in 2018. Two key-note relationships are with Campmor and the New York New Jersey Trail Conference who since March of 2018 have hosted gear donation boxes at their locations which have helped to outfit hundreds of youth in the local NY/NJ area as well as bring about awareness of Gear Forward and our mission. We would also like to mention the new relationships we forged with the Ozark Trail Association, Hart Outdoor, and Sasquatch Fuel.
On January 1, 2018, Gear Forward announced that we would begin taking donations of Boy Scout and Girl Scout uniforms to assist youth in need of outdoor gear who also may have a uniform deficiency. Since the announcement a year ago Gear Forward has continually received both Boy Scout and Girl Scout uniform shirts, pants, belts, hats and other accessories on a regular basis. We are proud to report we have also outfitted many new Cub Scouts who were in need of their very first uniform shirt and we are very excited to outfit more scouts in the coming year.
In 2018, Gear Forward expanded it’s cadre of Gear Forward Ambassadors to nearly twenty members to assist in the outreach and connection to the outdoor community around the United States to identify needs and source gear to satisfy local needs. With the growth and pace of activity of Gear Forward in 2018 two of the Gear Forward Ambassadors were asked to take on new roles and become more involved on a day to day basis to not only address current needs of the organization but to assist in its growth and future development. Gear Forward would not have had the year of success it has enjoyed nor would so many youths in need have the gear they need to get outdoors without the tireless effort and dedication of Ms. Diana Richards and Ms. Jennifer Glasgow Potts, both Gear Forward Development Coordinators.
In 2019 Gear Forward is ready to expand even more. We plan on growing our ambassador group across the country, which will help us outfit even more of the next generation of adventurers. We appreciate every single one of you that has helped in any way to spread the love of the outdoors to our youth in need, and we have so many exciting plans that are presently under development to help more youth get outside in this new year. We wish you all a happy and healthy new year, and stay tuned to see what Gear Forward will do this year!
Gear Forward is working to assist Weld County Boys and Girls Club in equipping their youth for adventure
Gear Forward has taken on a need in Colorado to assist in providing outdoor gear so that the youth of the Boys and Girls Club of Weld County, Colorado can begin to explore the backcountry of Colorado this summer. Presently, Gear Forward is in need of 10 backpacks, 4-5, 3 person tents, 10 sleeping bags and 10 sleeping pads to allow the youth to get outdoors. If you have gear you would like to donate to this effort please contact us.
The Boys & Girls Club of Weld County is headquartered in Greeley, CO, which is about an hour northeast of Denver. We serve approximately 2,500 youth each year in our school year and summer programs. Many of these children are from low socioeconomic families and have never had the opportunity to spend time in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado; many have never left their hometowns before becoming a Boys & Girls Club members. Boys & Girls Clubs youth face tremendous obstacles. Some have volatile home lives, cope with language barriers, or suffer food scarcity. These are symptoms indicative of growing up in a community where childhood poverty is higher than average in the state of Colorado. At the Boys & Girls Clubs of Weld County of Weld County, we strive to “level the playing field,” and provide growth, opportunity, and hope for the youth who need us most.
We believe that the “mountains speak for themselves,” and outdoor experiences can be transformational for the children and teens that we serve. It is our goal to take these youth members into the Rocky Mountains for a multi-day backpacking trip, so that we can foster life changing experiences. For many of our kids, this would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. This is an ambitious goal and goes above our past expeditions and beyond what most Boys & Girls Clubs offer for their members. Our kids can look to the west and see the continental divide from about 60 miles away. With your help and the right equipment, these kids will get the opportunity to visit the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains up close for the first time.
Mission Statement: To inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.
Facebook: Boys & Girls Club of Weld County
It’s not a surprise that Gear Forward and Campmor have become partners to join forces to help outfit the next generation of adventurers. Some may not know that both entities started in garages as ideas… one to sell quality outdoor gear beginning in 1978 and Gear Forward more recently, aimed at ensuring kids who need gear to get outdoors have the resources they need.
Gear Forward is very excited to announce a partnership with Campmor. Campmor with this partnership becomes the first large scale retailer to partner with Gear Forward to house a gear donation box in their store to allow customers to donate gently used gear to Gear Forward.
By partnering with Gear Forward, Campmor is showcasing their strong belief in sustainability and giving back to the community. Gear Forward applauds this action and looks forward to a long-standing relationship that allows for countless youth around their retail location and beyond to be the direct beneficiary of the donated gear by the compassionate customers of Campmor.
“I am very excited to have Campmor as our first large scale retailer to partner with Gear Forward. I can recall getting the Campmor catalog as a young Boy Scout and dreaming of the gear I wished to have one day. Now via this process together Gear Forward and Campmor can work together to provide gear to youth in need.” Scott Gauvin, Executive Director/Founder.
Gently used outdoor gear items such as tents, backpacks and sleeping bags along with other assorted accessories may be donated at the Campmor retail location located at 810 Route 17 North Paramus, New Jersey 07652.
Gear Forward is pleased to announce our partnership with the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference. We are excited to engage with the Trail Conference and spread the message of the capability of its members to be able to recycle their gently used outdoor gear items with Gear Forward. To jump start this awareness the Trail Conference has placed a gear donation box at their headquarters to allow members to drop off donations. These donated items will be used to facilitate satisfying gear needs within the New York and New Jersey area identified by Gear Forward.
The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference is the region’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to building, maintaining, and protecting trails and the lands they traverse. Powered by volunteers, the Trail Conference connects outdoor-loving people with stewardship opportunities. The Trail Conference acts to preserve the integrity of trails and natural areas and inspire a deeper appreciation for the care that open space requires.
Since 1920, the Trail Conference has been partnering with land managers and mobilizing volunteers and advocates to conserve the trails and parks that belong to us all. Every person who hikes, rides, or walks on a trail has an important role in keeping them safe and accessible. The Trail Conference educates and assists the public in upholding this shared responsibility.
More than 2,150 miles of trails across the region are cared for by Trail Conference volunteers. Over 2,400 Trail Conference volunteers donate more than 104,000 service hours annually. And more than 10,000 Trail Conference members join their voices to speak up for issues affecting the protection of our parklands. The Trail Conference is a vigilant force in ensuring that the trails and natural areas we share are sustainable and accessible for all to enjoy for generations to come.
Gear Forward looks forward to engaging with the Trail Conference in the future on potential gear donation hikes, trail events, and working together to outfit the next generation of adventurers and stewards of our public lands.
Gently used outdoor gear items such as tents, backpacks and sleeping bags along with other assorted accessories may be donated at the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference headquarters located at 600 Ramapo Valley Road in Mahwah, NJ.
A few weeks ago Gear Forward received a request from a Cub/Boy Scout Troop 2212 from Coamo, Puerto Rico. The troop is very active and looking to return the boys to the outdoors and back to their scouting advancement. Unlike most needs Gear Forward receives which usually call for personal gear like tents, backpacks and sleeping bags... Troop 2212 needs some troop gear to replace demanded or destroyed gear from the Hurricane.
Below is the request letter sent to Gear Forward from Troop 2212.
Unfortunately Puerto Rico has had a difficult year. On the morning of September 20th, 2017 Hurricane Maria – a powerful Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph winds — made direct landfall on the Island, bisecting the entire country and drenching it with feet of rain and devastation. What’s happened since has been truly catastrophic. It’s been several months since this disaster and yet many places remain with no power or potable water to drink. There’s limited food and cell service, and dozens of remote villages have been completely cut off from everything for weeks.
Recovery has been slow, but we are resilient and working hard towards getting things back to normal. Needless to say that our Boy Scouts Troop 2212 from Coamo, Puerto Rico has remained committed to continue providing unique experiences for our children, everyday adventure and the chance to help others to make a positive impact in our communities. Despite our loss, our spirit and will remains strong.
In this time of need, we are humbly accepting any assistance that will provide for our Troop 2212 the necessary means to continue our scouts mission and outdoor activities. The following is a list of desirable articles:
1. 1 x Outdoor 3 Burner Stove
2. 2 x Outdoor Folding Table
3. 2 x Outdoor Portable Cooler
4. 2 x Large Plastic Storage Containers
5. 1 x (5 Gallon) Beverage Jug
6. 2 x Outdoor portable showers
7. 2 x Large First Aid Kits
8. Large Cooking Pots, Pans and utensils
Our deepest thanks to those who are able to contribute.
Gear Forward is honored to help return scouting and the opportunity of outdoor learning and advancement to these young boys. We also applaud the parents and adult leaders who even after their struggles and hardship continue to provide this wonderful opportunity to the young scouts.
In order to meet this need Gear Forward seeks your support in donating to our Facebook Fundraiser to support Troop 2212 of Coamo, Puerto Rico.
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