The North Face is determined to get young people outdoors.
Not long after hosting a group of influencers on a trip to experience the Arctic Refuge, the brand is partnering with the Girl Scouts of the USA to introduce 12 badges to encourage them to embrace outdoor sports.
The Girl Scouts’ Outdoor High Adventure badge program will allow the organization’s 1.7 million members to earn badges for activities that include backpacking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, rock climbing, trail running and other outdoor sports. And for the first time, girls can choose one of two ways to earn their badges. For example, Brownies in second or third grade can take three types of hikes or go trail running, while Ambassadors in grades 11 to 12 can choose between camping out in the snow or taking a multiday climbing trip.
As part of this partnership, The North Face will bring outdoor athletes and leaders to speaking engagements for the Girl Scouts and there will also be in-store events with learning opportunities on-site.
Hillary Allen, a North Face athlete and trail runner, said: “The outdoors constantly challenges me. I am exposed and I actively have to choose to keep going and move forward. In the end, I’m constantly learning things and pushing myself forward and becoming a better person.”
The North Face and the Girl Scouts first collaborated in 2018 as part of the brand’s Move Mountains initiative that encourages women to push boundaries in the outdoors and beyond.
Last month, The North Face sponsored a group of five young influencers who joined skier, mountaineer and North Face-sponsored athlete Kit Deslauriers on a trip to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to experience the environment firsthand. The group included painter Monica Hernandez; Gwich’in youth leader Julia Fisher-Salmon; YouTube personality and comedian Nathan Zed; writer Maia Wikler and photographer Aundre Larrow.
The trip followed a study The North Face commissioned with YPulse that found that despite their interest in the environment, people age 18 to 25 are not aware of the threats facing the Arctic Refuge, the last remaining wilderness in the U.S.
According to the study, two-thirds or 68 percent of Gen Y did not know the Arctic was threatened. But once informed, those age 13 to 36 said they were extremely or very concerned by threats to the environment and the wildlife as well as to the indigenous people.
The trip turned out to be very enlightening to the influencers, who then spread the word.
According to Wikler: “If drilling is allowed to happen here, it will cut off countless communities from their most reliable food source and sense of identity. I see that as the ultimate human rights injustice. Many community members and elders have told me that the survival of the Gwich’in depends on the survival of the Porcupine caribou herd. The Refuge and caribou are the basis of their identity, well-being and life. Protecting the coastal plain is protecting Indigenous sovereignty. Now is the time to be on the right side of history. The staggering biodiversity of this planet represents the diversity needed in this movement, a testament that there is a place for every single human to make a difference. There is power in the strength of community, and that shouldn’t be dismantled by political decisions.”