REI: Force of Nature Celebration
Keynote Speaker: Leslie Hsu Oh
August 25, 2017
FOR AUGUST 25, 2017
PLYMOUTH MEETING, PENNSYLVANIA — August 25, 2017
Celebrating Women in the Outdoors and Empowering Families to Get Outdoors
Enjoy free tacos and beer while learning how women like Leslie Hsu Oh, who writes for magazines like Outside, Backpacker, Alpinist, Conde Nast Traveler, and Travel+Leisure, kayaks, snowboards, snowmobiles, rock climbs, and spelunks into lava caves with her four kids. She will raffle off gear that she tests from brands like Patagonia. REI staff will run campfire sessions on the topics of basic bike maintenance, lightweight backpacking, and more. We will also be joined by several community partners, including Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia and Ragnar Trail.
“In my stories and photographs, I try to redefine the outdoors through indigenous knowledge and give voice to those who can’t be heard,” Leslie says. “I hope to challenge the misconception that people of color are not participating in outdoor recreational activities and storytelling. My Elders often lament that what’s missing today is an intuitive understanding of our relationship to all of creation. In Navajo, we call it K’é yił yał tx’I’, which means ‘it’s saying something with a kinship feeling.’ Mountains, trees, plants, animals, rivers, lakes, oceans all have a spirit to respect rather than conquest. I write and publish stories which reveal the secrets of a place, discover the indigenous knowledge bled into stream beds, trapped in rock layers, eroded in the earth.”
From gear to experiences and from nonprofit partnerships to powerful women-first storytelling, REI’s Force of Nature aims to ensure that women are just as inspired and equipped as men to embrace life outside. Force of Nature features four components: a comprehensive effort to change the male-dominated imagery of people in the outdoors; a $1 million commitment in 2017 to support nonprofits that create opportunities for women in the outdoors; a stepped-up effort to develop and offer high-quality technical gear and apparel for women; and the launch of over 1,000 events designed for women. President and CEO Jerry Stritzke says, “It is a disruption of the status quo. It claims the outdoors as a place to opt out of cultural pressures to conform—the “supposed-tos” and “shoulds” that underpin outdated stereotypes—especially for women. To create real change right now we are putting women—of all ages, races, sizes, gender expressions—front and center in all we do.”
REI published a national study commissioned to better understand the role the outdoors plays in women’s lives and how the outdoors is perceived today. The study revealed that 7 out of 10 women believe that women are under more pressure to conform than men, and that they also view the outdoors as an antidote to that pressure. Additionally, the study found that more than 85 percent of women see the outdoors as key to better physical and mental health, and overall well-being, and 73 percent say they would like to spend more time outdoors.
WHO: Registered participants
WHAT: Celebrating women in the Outdoors
WHEN: 6:30pm, August 25
WHERE: Rooftop of Whole Foods Market, 500 W Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
Known for taking young kids on extreme adventures, Leslie Hsu Oh is an award-winning adventure writer and photographer, whose work has been named among the distinguished stories of the year by Best American Essays. She is a Champion of Change for the White House in Asian American and Pacific Islander Storytelling and Art, a Schweitzer Fellow, and the Outdoor Editor for Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Alpinist, Backpacker Magazine, Bon Appetit, Conde Nast Traveler, Outside Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, Sierra Magazine, Travel + Leisure, Washington Post. She is currently working on a memoir called Fireweed. www.lesliehsuoh.com or @lesliehsuoh or firstname.lastname@example.org
REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of more than 6 million active members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 149 stores in 36 states. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.com, REI-Garage.com or the free REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. You can take the trip of a lifetime with REI Adventures, a global leader in active adventure travel that runs 170 custom-designed itineraries on every continent. REI’s Outdoor School is run by professionally-trained, expert-instructors who teach beginner- to advanced-level courses about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to–and steward–the outdoor places that inspire us.