“Here have a Shōchū Bomb” (Shōchū mixed with Sapporo Beer). You can shoot it or sip it,” I was instructed by KAVU founder Barry Barr. Yes, that was essentially the introduction when we arrived at KAVU, Inc. Headquarters in Ballard for our Seattle Chapter Kickoff. As I sipped my drink, I was introduced to some core TEAM KAVU people and got a lay of the land for the evening.
Enjoy a lookback at the last 10 years of TEAM KAVU. Only one word to describe it…BUZZNARD!
Check out their latest KAVU Fall 2019 Lookbook:
We were joined, starting at 5:00 pm, by outdoor industry professionals who had come to see behind the scenes: hear from Jon and myself; and make new friends and stronger connections with familiar faces. We host these events to bring people together to create connections and explore opportunities to advance our shared mission- most simply put – Getting People Outside. Our Gathering events are opportunities to put names to faces- those people who you may have emailed with back and forth, but not actually talked to- especially face to face (with a Bomb in hand). I happened to be standing next to Stuart and Martin when they introduced themselves and realized that this was their case! Making the Connections.
We all mingled in their open office space on the second floor and were given tours by TEAM KAVU folks. Knowing that the Shōchū Bombs can “really make your head hurt” we dipped into the stash of cold Mountain Fresh Rainier and made our way upstairs to circle up for our presentations. Barry welcomed everybody and gave us insight into where he started, their journey and where they are today!
I was too interested in what Barry was saying that I didn’t take “notes”, so I’ll quote their site instead: “KAVU was born in Seattle in 1993. Back then, founder Barry Barr was selling the revolutionary Strapcap out of his car. Now, it’s a straight-up classic and KAVU is Local Worldwide. After all these years, we’re still stoked by the spirit in which we were founded: buckling down, pitching in, getting our hands dirty, and creating gear we’re proud to wear and even prouder to share with you.” It was a special opportunity, to have an invitation into KAVU, to see behind the curtains and get insight into their success and the encouragement extended for ongoing communications for all.
Next, we heard from Jon Snyder, Outdoor Recreation and Economic Development Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Jay Inslee. Yes, he was the only one in the room with a tie, but dressed down for us without his sport coat. He assured us that his wardrobe reflected the sincere approach he takes to listening to our issues!
Jon explained how his position as advisor to the Governor was the 3rd out of 15 states nationwide to be created. Related news: The National Governors Association launched the Outdoor Recreation Learning Network In his role, he tracks hundreds of legislative bills that relate to and effect outdoor recreation in our great state of Washington. One effort that Jon is currently working on is securing funding in the next budget for an update to the 2015 Earth Economics study: Economic Benefits of Outdoor Recreation in Washington. Jon commented that Tim Eyeman’s $30 car tab tax initiative would cut into the budget and that many currently funded items are at risk. This obviously prompted discussion alone!
You can also stay tuned to what Jon is tracking monthly on our blog: Jon Snyder’s OREC Hot List.
Next, Todd Elsworth, Recreation Northwest’s Executive Director (yes, that’s me) gave a brief update on the launch of our Washington Outdoor Business Alliance. “We are proud to be formalizing the work we have done over the years advocating for the outdoor recreation industry and bringing people together to make connections,” I exclaimed! Simply put, this is our mission for the Alliance:
Our Alliance strategy is to leverage our 3 main tenets of Connect Protect and Grow. Our Alliance Gatherings are an opportunity to connect. You are invited to Join the Alliance.
Chime IN – With the 30 people gathered in a circle, we took the opportunity to introduce ourselves to one another in a round-the-horn fashion. Sharing is Caring! The people in the room reflected our perspective on the breadth and depth of the Outdoor Recreation Industry in Washington State.
In attendance: KAVU, Washington Wildlife & Recreation Coalition, We Are Unicorns, YMCA of Greater Seattle / Seattle Mountain Rescue / Issaquah Alps Trails Club, Diamondback (formerly), Washington Wild, Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, Recreation Northwest, Geocaching, Swift Industries, eqpd, Boldly Went, Washington Wild, Youth Experiential Training Institute (Y.E.T.I.), Never Stop Moving, Sherpa Adventure Gear, Earth Economics, WA Trails Association , Zumiez, City of Maple Valley, K2 Sports, NWAC, Blackstone Investment Group, REI, Alta Cycling Group, Department of Natural Resources, Sweetlines, YMCA/ Seattle Mountain Rescue/ Issaquah Alps Trail Club and Stuart Johnson Co.
Essentially, it was a room filled with people who share the same values and mission of getting people outside! Our next stop was a nearby pub, owned by 2 of the guys at KAVU. Go figure, eh! We reconvened at Connor Byrne Pub and kept the conversations rolling and the drinks flowing.
The next KAVU tradition we had the honor of indoctrination was the Statue of Liberty! Directions given: Hold your glass, dip in your finger, shake it off, light it on fire and hold it up like Lady Liberty– and while your finger is flaming- pour the drink down your gullet! BOOM!
Below, our Seattle Chapter Lead, Kelli Taylor, gets ready to give it a go while Jon Fewster is on deck. Needless to say, we didn’t need to document anything after this point in the evening!
On behalf of Recreation Northwest and the new Washington Outdoor Business Alliance Members, we thank KAVU and Connor Byrne Pub for being most excellent hosts and for those of you who turned out and had a fun evening with us in Ballard. We hope to see you at our next Seattle Alliance Gathering on Tuesday, November 12th.
You are also invited to join us in Bellingham on Saturday, October 12th for our new Great Outdoors Awards
As Executive Director of Recreation Northwest, Todd Elsworth promotes outdoor recreation and brings community together to enjoy, preserve and improve the places where we play. His decades of extensive event production, marketing and writing experience propel this passion. You might bump into him and his daughter Violet while they’re biking, hiking, paddling or skiing in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.