Passing the Torch: Educating the Next Generation of the Outdoor Industry

From Elevation Outdoors
By Harper Brown

The outdoor industry is booming, there’s no doubt about it. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, the outdoor recreation economy recorded $887 billion in consumer spending in 2016, a whopping figure that accounted for two percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product that same year. The industry as a whole generates roughly 7.6 million direct jobs in the U.S., and that number is on the rise — up from 6.1 million direct jobs logged in 2012. The outdoor industry is in the midst of a massive growth spurt, and that growth is spawning an industry-wide search for the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts, stewards of the land, champions of nature and sustainably-minded conservationist willing to grab the torch and carry on the business of inspiring responsible recreation in the great outdoors. And that search has officially landed on college campuses throughout the country.

On day two of the 2018 Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show in Denver, Colorado, the Outdoor Industry Association presented “The Next Wave of Outdoorist: The Importance of Growing Outdoor Communities on College Campuses” to an attentive crowd in the Colorado Convention Center. The panel included Dr. Carine Feyten (Texas Woman’s University), Alondra Martinez (Texas Woman’s University student), Scott Wyatt (president of Southern Utah University), Abigail Wyatt (Southern Utah University student) and Ian Levin (Senior Deputy Director for the Outdoor Foundation) as the moderator. The panel discussion highlighted the importance of college campuses promoting students to spend time outside; ultimately encouraging better performance, a closer college community, and more college students pursing careers in the outdoor industry.

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