LLBean, which has long offered Outdoor Discovery School classes in such skills as archery, fly fishing and kayaking at its Maine flagship, says it is taking the program on the road. Its first-ever “Discovery Tour” starts in New York, followed by such cities as Chicago, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, all led by the outdoor retailer’s “Bootmobile,” a moving version of its trademark Bean Boot.
The Freeport, Maine-based company says the idea came about following research, done in conjunction with the National Park Foundation, that revealed 60% of parents say their kids spend one hour or less per day outdoors. So the tour, staffed by its Outdoor Discovery Schools guides, aims to offer solutions, with free kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and fly casting instruction. Guides will also promote local outdoor resources, and share their own experiences with participants.
In both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, the event will be part of an entire “Outdoor Discovery Day,” which will let families dabble in such activities as geocaching and the basics of camping.
As part of the initiative, the retailer is also spreading the word about its Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder app, which simplifies finding a hiking trail or spot for kayaking while on the go. The app was released last fall as part of the company’s 100th anniversary.
LLBean is encouraging people to share about events on social media via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Foursquare, with the ParkFinder app, and using #OutdoorDiscovery.
The retailer has pledged $1 million to the National Parks Foundation, with its Million Moment Mission. For every outdoor moment shared, it donates $1 to the foundation, with the goal of getting kids outdoors and learning about their natural environment.