See You Outside for World Inclusion Day!
Photo by Jo Hernandes Production Ltd
October 10 is one of our very favorite days at KEEN: World Inclusion Day. It’s a day dedicated to people of all abilities, backgrounds, ages, races, religions, and genders being accepted, welcomed, and treated equally.
And we see it as an opportunity to raise awareness around the fact that not everyone has the same access to the outdoors, particularly those in underrepresented communities. Which is why we do everything we can to make the outdoors and the trades more accessible to everyone.
Through The KEEN Effect, we’ve partnered with organizations around the world who are on the ground making a difference every day — from our longstanding partner Outdoor Afro in the U.S. to our most recent partnerships in the U.K.: Steppers & Muslim Hikers, two organizations that empower Black, Asian and ethnic minorities to get outdoors. These groups offer a safe space to connect with nature where everyone, regardless of their background, is accepted and welcome.
We’re celebrating their work by spreading the word about some of their current initiatives and how to get involved:
Steppers UK: Walking for Mental Health
Steppers UK CIC is a community interest group supporting Black, Asian and ethnic minorities to connect with the outdoors & countryside through fun, adventurous, and creative activities. They aim to support the mental & physical well-being of these communities as well as expand the life perspectives of those who often spend most of their lives in the city.
Under the theme "Nature is Us," we have partnered with Steppers to organize three different walks every last Sunday of the month from September to November, from Somerset - Cheddar Gorge, to the Peak District and Wales.
Photos by Jo Hernandes Production Ltd
During these walks, we not only explore nature, but also enjoy some additional activities that appeal to Steppers' creative DNA, such as photography. On our first walk, all participants received a disposable camera to document their individual experiences. If you live in the U.K., you can join one of our future walks here!
Muslim Hikers: To the Top of the Peak District
Muslim Hikers is a grassroots initiative of the Active Inclusion Network CIC, which was set up to help empower Muslim communities to get outdoors. What started off as just an Instagram page for online community during the pandemic lockdown has now rapidly grown to become the largest online community in the world with a global following of over 50,000 folks across its social media platforms.
On Sept. 10, we sponsored their Kinder Scout, Hike & Afternoon Tea in the Peak District of the UK. With a group of around 150 people, we started and finished in the village of Hayfield, completing a route of approximately 9 miles (about 5 hours), aiming to reach the highest point in the Peak District, the Kinder Scout moor plateau, which is 636m above sea level. After the hike, we closed the day with a Halal Afternoon Tea, which included delicious treats such as Milie's bestselling homemade scones.
Muslim Hikers has the ambition of growing to become an umbrella organization representing and supporting all the UK-based grassroots groups that are servicing the Muslim community to help get outside. Stay tuned to their walks here.
Rehna Yaseen Expedition: Canoeing in Finland
Rehna Yaseen is a KEEN friend, outdoors instructor, and youth and community worker who spends many of her days giving city-based teenagers fantastic outdoor adventures. In 2019, she raised £20,000 from the Rank Foundation to take 8 women to Nepal to do Everest Base Camp (EBC). However, due to COVID, the trip had to be postponed. Finally, in August 2022, the trip became a reality, but to a different destination; a group of 12 South Asian women went to Finland for a 2-week wilderness canoe expedition along the Tar route in Kainuu.
A trip like this is not usually something they have access to. So, the goal of the expedition was to help break down stereotypes and offer them a safe space to continue to grow and enjoy the outdoors. We were happy to support the expedition with Whisper hybrid sandals for all of the participants.
Being outside together is the best way to be outside. And we all can take steps to help folks feel more welcome and included in natural spaces. It can be as simple as saying hello, donating equipment or cash to a nonprofit near you, and amplifying the work that they’re doing. Thanks for doing your part to create more welcoming spaces for all.