Spruce Lab developed a framework and suite of recommendations for the Outdoor Industry Association to use as a resource when engaging with brands, retailers and individuals at a local level, detailing best practices and lessons learned from existing State Business Organizations.
Community [kuh-myoo-ni-tee]: A group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society.
While the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) has a strong national presence within the outdoor community, there is also immense value in uniting the industry at local and state levels. When local leaders strengthen relationships at the roots of the industry, the $887 billion dollar outdoor recreation economy becomes an even greater force.
“Recreation is inherently local. You fall in love with the waters, the mountains, the river, the prairie. Since it’s so place centric, these organizations lend themselves to having a localized effort.”-Marc Berejka, REI
Over the past decade, there has been a wave of industry leaders forming outdoor recreation business organizations and alliances. While each organization varies, the common goal is to establish a group of industry professionals, non-profit leaders, policymakers, and other key stakeholders to raise awareness about the importance of the outdoor economy. For example, industry professionals in Bend, OR formed the Oregon Outdoor Alliance (OOA). The OOA provides a space to network with industry peers, share resources, and advise on brand strategy and development. By establishing an outdoor alliance, a unified voice was created to weigh in on policy issues that affect the $16.4 billion outdoor recreation economy within the state of Oregon. Download Outdoor Recreation State Business Organizations report.
The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) has a goal of advancing policy that supports the outdoor industry at the local, state, and federal level. This work historically has been focused in Washington, D.C., by individual brand leaders and through coalition work with aligned partners. Over the last several years, the OIA has seen significant momentum from the outdoor industry organizing at the state and regional level around shared goals to protect where we recreate. To date, the OIA has been serving as a hub for resources, and an advisor to groups across active states.
Building off the momentum the OIA and aligned partners have created, Spruce Lab will support in the development of a consistent and adaptable business relationships framework – supporting the growth of this collective impact and fostering empowerment.
Together with the OIA, Spruce Lab will support creating resources that detail best practices and lessons learned for forming state-based outdoor business organizations. Spruce Lab also has the opportunity to consolidate and develop a suite of recommendations for the OIA to engage with these alliances.
Spruce Lab’s ultimate goal is to support the OIA in increasing policy efforts; shaping the future of how the OIA engages in state and local advocacy work.
Todd Elsworth is one of the many “Mossy-haired lunatics roaming the dripping peninsulas”, described in “I’m Here for the Weather” by Tom Robbins. As executive director, he works to fulfill our mission to teach the health benefits of nature, promote outdoor recreation, and steward the places where we play.