MAINE (May 18, 2022) – Maine GearShare, an equipment lending service for outdoor recreation and a first-of-its-kind collaboration of outdoor brands, funders, and trip-leading organizations, launched their first gear deployment pilot program recently by supporting Teens to Trails on their Adventure Bound whitewater rafting weekend.
“Maine GearShare is the result of a truly collaborative process among outdoor-focused organizations, funders, and brands. We all want to boost equitable access to memorable outdoor experiences, and gear is a key component to that endeavor. After years of work, the board and staff are so excited to launch this pilot, see the gear in action, and test, adapt and grow our model,” said Liv Berg, Maine GearShare’s interim executive director.
Thanks to GearShare, 108 students from 13 Maine high schools attended the Teens to Trails weekend trip. Many of the students were able to participate due to GearShare’s easy access to camping gear and financial assistance from the Maine Department of Education.
“If you have never been camping before, but were invited on an end-of-year rafting weekend with your school’s outdoor club, what would you do? Many Maine students simply said, ‘YES, I’ll go!’ We arranged with Maine GearShare to have all the equipment they needed to be comfortable on their first outing. We don’t get a second chance at making a good first impression to outdoor adventures,” said Teens to Trails Executive Director Alicia Heyburn.
Maine GearShare is able to offer pilot year services at a reduced cost thanks to many generous donors and partners, including L.L.Bean, The Onion Foundation, The Outdoors Empowered Network, The Outdoor Foundation, Hyperlite Mountain Gear, and The Quimby Family Foundation.
“Research is proving what Leon Leonwood Bean intuitively knew when he founded L.L.Bean – that time spent outside is good for our physical and mental wellness,” said Kathryn Pratt, director of brand engagement at L.L.Bean. “By supporting ME GearShare we are helping to enable restorative outdoor experiences for more people. It is a direct activation of our purpose.”
“The Onion Foundation sees the efficiency and promise in aggregating apparel and gear and making it available for our partner organizations as they explore Maine’s great outdoors. We know these nonprofits are working hard to create cherished and impactful trips, and Maine GearShare is allowing them to devote more of their resources to curating those experiences rather than washing, drying, storing, and repairing tents and backpacks,” said Tyler Kidder, program officer at the Onion Foundation.
“We are thrilled to arrive at this milestone of our first gear deployment as our first of many steps to expand outdoor gear access across Maine. Teens to Trails is an ideal pilot member for Maine GearShare with many schools, clubs, communities and trip types for us to serve. Maine GearShare is accepting new pilot members and poised to make the most of every gear item and donation of time and money. I want to thank all partners who’ve contributed so far. We have more to learn, improve and expand upon to meet the greater-than-ever need across Maine,” said Zak Klein, Program Officer at Quimby Family Foundation and Vice President of Maine GearShare Board of Directors.
The mission of Maine GearShare is to promote equitable access to outdoor recreation with a shared economy system that acquires, maintains, and lends gear to trip leaders and nature-based educators. The belief that the connection to nature is fundamental to a healthy life and builds connected, resilient communities is their foundation.
The second gear deployment will be for Trekkers’ seventh-grade trip to Acadia National Park. This is the very first trip for Trekkers’ new cohort of students, and Maine GearShare will be supporting this trip with group and individual equipment and apparel.
Contact: Liv Berg
firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-200-1876