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Good Bye 2020, Here's to a Brighter 2021

2020 began just like any other with the hope and promise of a bright and exciting future for our organization. Gear Forward started the year 2020 with a campaign to achieve sending out and receiving a total of 2,020 pieces of individual gear. Quickly as January turned into February it was evident that this campaign was not going to be a success as our collective world was changing and outdoor gear donations took a backseat to more pressing needs in our communities from coast to coast.

Throughout the year as COVID-19 ebbed and flowed with peaks in valleys throughout the spring, summer and fall and across the country... goodness still found Gear Forward, and Gear Forward was still able to assist many youth organizations in need. Gear Forward is grateful to people who through quarantine and being isolated took the time to clean out gear closets, attics, basements, and garages to send us tents, backpacks, and sleeping bags, all of which are the lifeblood of our mission. Throughout COVID-19 we still received over a hundred boxes of donations including uniforms parts for youth still engaging in ScoutsBSA.

We thank and appreciate the love and continued support of Gear Forward Nation, who talks about our small but important organization over a campfire, in a conversation, or in a social media post or share. These small actions have made a difference this year in helping us to continue to source gear and monetary donations but more importantly to find needs for youth who have a gear deficiency.

While camps providing weekend and full-week opportunities were shuttered due to the pandemic, as mentioned Gear Forward did collaborate with many ScoutsBSA troops from coast to coast to provide a significant amount of tents, sleeping bags, mats, and backpacks. Troops in New York, California, Florida, North Carolina were some of our biggest donations in 2020.

We must provide a huge thank you to our friends at the North Face for providing Gear Forward a significant of donated gear that allowed us to hold another successful yard sale this year that provided a big boost to our fundraising efforts. In addition, a thank you to the good people at our local Scheels in Springfield, IL for having a 12 Days of Giving Campaign this November and to all of you for supporting us. Gear Forward received a $1,000 donation to support our efforts to outfit the next generation of adventurers in 2021.

As Gear Forward looks to 2021, we see a landscape that has camps re-opening, state parks, and recreational areas accepting group camping... with safety precautions, but still open. We hope that as troops, camps and outdoor organizations come back online are in need of gear to facilitate getting youth outside that they get connected with them. We know the impacts that COVID has had on all of us, and understand that the financial and economic impacts may cause groups to provide a more limited program or serve less youth. We are here to help lessen those impacts of COVID to ensure as many youths who have a desire to get outdoors in 2021, can.

Gear Forward is most looking forward to more people getting actively involved in our mission in 2021. We are continuing to look for outgoing, outdoor-focused and connected people to serve as moderators of our Facebook State Groups. In addition, we are excited about bringing on some new volunteer staff to help ensure we assist with every need that comes our way in 2021.

Once again, we want to say thank you for your continued support of our organization even during a time like we have experienced this year... it is truly remarkable.

Finally, we wish you a safe, happy, and joyous new year with your friends and family. Here is looking to better days...

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