Hike it Baby creates opportunities and removes barriers to access so families with babies and young children can take their first steps outside. We believe all families have the right to connect with nature, benefit from spending time outdoors, and be inspired to a lifelong love of nature.
A world where everyone can enjoy the physical and mental benefits of spending time outside.
Today, this is not the case. We acknowledge not everyone has the same history and experience with outdoor activities and many people and communities have been excluded or not invited into this space. Additionally, the current definition of what it means to be outside and who belongs there has been historically limited to a bearded white man atop a snow-peaked mountain. Hike it Baby is working to change this narrative. We are making the outdoors a more equitable place by normalizing time spent in nature and who is welcome in nature. We are doing this by creating communities where nature is redefined as not only a faraway space only to be enjoyed by those with the privilege, means, and abilities to be “adventurous” and “outdoorsy” but as a place that is welcoming, safe, and accessible for all. Regardless of background, race, ethnicity, physical ability, sexual orientation, gender, relationship, age, size, shape, language, and more, anyone who wants to experience the outdoors is the NEW definition of “outdoorsy.” Furthermore, we believe that for people to feel welcome in the outdoors, we also have to broaden the definition of what outdoor activity includes. It is not just getting on a trail in the deep woods, or climbing distant peaks. It does not require special gear or experience. Being in nature is something we should all be able to do and all it should take is a step outside. We are lowering barriers both locally and globally to ensure more families feel like they belong outside and can easily and safely enjoy its benefits for generations to come.
-We bring families outside together to create authentic, supportive connections.
-We actively commit to diversity and inclusion in our community, and to continued learning and action on equity to ensure we welcome all families and leave no family behind.
-We empower families by working together to share resources, provide opportunities, and remove barriers to be or go outside with confidence.
-We are normalizing nature by encouraging families to spend time outside whether on the front step or in the back country and everything in between.
-We believe in the inherent benefits of time outside and that everyone deserves to experience them from birth.
-We believe it is vital to respect, protect and share nature from our first step outside.
-We commit to taking and inspiring local and global action to ensure equitable access to the outdoors for generations to come.
Our thoughts on equity, diversity, and inclusion
As an organization dedicated to creating opportunities and removing barriers to access so families with babies and young children can take their first steps outside, it is important to us that we prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion (collectively known as DEI) work in our efforts. It is vital we not only state our values, but also live them, both as an organization and in the local communities we inspire.
We feel it is important to be clear about what the terms diversity, equity, and inclusion mean to us. There are a lot of different ways these terms are used, and we want to share how we see them connected directly to our work.
- Diversity refers to the variety of background, race, ethnicity, physical ability, sexual orientation, gender, relationship, age, size, shape, language, and more that can shape an individual and a family’s lived experience. We believe all those differences help create a more whole and robust community where we can learn and grow together. We also believe that we need to be diverse in our offerings, providing a variety of events and activities that include and account for the diverse needs of our communities.
- Equity speaks to fairness and an intent to provide people with what they need—as opposed to offering everyone the same thing—in an effort to make sure they have the opportunity to participate. One family may need paved trails, while others may need events outside of work hours, and others need ways to connect with nature that doesn’t fall into a traditional “trail hike” at all. Both deserve the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and we can accommodate both.
- We feel it is important we are an inclusive community that welcomes those who not only have previous experience in the outdoors, but also those who don’t have an existing relationship with nature and everyone in between. By making the intentional effort to include everyone, we learn more about how to meet people where they are with what they have.
What about justice? Many organizations have adopted the shorthand term “JEDI” for this work— and we did too for the past year or so. However, we’ve been thinking a lot about where we are in this work and we’ve decided that it is disingenuous for us to claim that our organization is actively involved in advancing justice. That doesn’t mean we don’t believe in the importance of justice in the outdoors, and we do want our work to support those efforts. By building diverse Hike it Baby communities that are equitable and inclusive, we strive to create more just outcomes. In working towards a world where all families can enjoy the benefits of spending time outside, we will have to address the conditions that have led to where we are right now. Our primary focus is on creating community and support for families, and we focus our efforts on being more welcoming, more inclusive, more equitable, and seeking diversity. As we continue our DEI work, we are committed to bringing attention to justice issues within our communities, and support other organizations directly engaged in this work.
We are a young, small non-profit organization with very limited resources. As we grow, we are committed to building ourselves into an organization that incorporates continued learning on equity at every level– from how we invite and welcome new families to join us, to removing any financial burden whenever we are able, and considering who sits on our Board of Directors and why. This includes ongoing learning, listening, and asking for help as well as being open to taking risks, falling and getting back up to do it better the next time. We are taking actions as an organization to understand, address, and dismantle the barriers families face in having safe, unfettered access to nature, the freedom to enjoy it, and an uncompromised sense of belonging in outdoor spaces. You can read more about how we commit to this work here.
Our goal for everyone in the Hike it Baby community—everyone who participates in a hike, reads our blog, uses our downloadable resources, sees our social media posts, or watches our videos—is to be able to see themselves and connect to the idea that being outside is something everyone deserves to enjoy and benefit from. Both currently and historically, that has not been the case. We have to continue to build a new paradigm where families representing all backgrounds, races, ethnicities, physical abilities, sexual orientations, genders, relationships, ages, sizes, shapes, languages, and more are the NEW definition of who is “outdoorsy.”
We believe that by raising children who see us in a constant state of learning, where we seek understanding, and where we walk and explore and learn with people who are different from us, we teach them to advocate for a better world. Hike it Baby is committed to being transparent about what we’re doing in our equity learning and work. We hope you will help us and join us on the journey.
Together, we are raising a generation to love the outdoors and each other
If you have any thoughts you would like to share with us about our efforts on equity work, please reach out to us. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org— this goes to all members of the Board and the Executive Director.