For those familiar with the birth and ultimate success of AKontheGO, and of my penchant for trying to do a million things at once just because they sound like a good idea at the time, you may not have been surprised last January when I announced a new project aimed at helping families enjoy the outdoors. After all, the greatest gift my parents ever gave me was a lifetime spent in the forests of Washington State (well, and not making me wear dresses, but that’s a story for another time).
Moving to Alaska was a second gift; one I could give to my own children. This enormous place, 670,000 square miles of tundra, forestland, and rugged mountains in which to live, work, and play is not a thing to take lightly, and I hope we never have.
So when my two business partners and I finally decided to take a collective plunge into the somewhat chilly water of magazine publishing, the fear of shock outweighed an overarching desire to encourage parents to embrace the outdoors with their kids, in whatever space that may be, and however they define “family.”
Outdoor Families Magazine is more than a quarterly publication; it is a globally-inspired internet-driven way to pat parents, grandparents, and caregivers on the back and say “See, you’re doing it. It doesn’t have to be fancy, or expensive, or difficult. What you’re doing is just fine.”
In one of at least a hundred conference calls to my cohorts, Jennifer Fontaine and Traci Lehman of Mommy Hiker and Walk Simply, respectively, one theme that kept coming back is how we would provide the tools for any family, anywhere, to be comfortable in their own “outdoor skin,” as it were. This social media-driven society in which we all live is so touchy about things like the outdoors; everyone wants to show off their coolest hike, the newest gear, and the number of miles they’ve skied this season. But what about the family who can’t afford the skis, or works two jobs and finds 20 minutes at the local park to be a splendid indicator of nature time? They matter too, and that’s why we focus on a broader demographic, taking the terms “family” and “outdoors” and stretching the boundaries until everyone finds a place, and ultimately, I think we’ve been successful.
If you’ve read articles published by Outdoor Families Magazine, thank you. Each time you click a link you’re part of something amazing. If you haven’t yet had the chance to read an issue of OFM, perhaps the following contest will provide a bit of motivation.
Outdoor Families Magazine, in partnership with Thomson Family Adventures, is pleased to host a 6-night Sand and Surf Family Adventure Giveaway between now and February 1, 2016. Does the thought of Baja, Mexico’s sandy beaches and exciting activities sound fun? How about snorkeling with sea lions? (I’ve done this, by the way, and it’s amazing.) Thomson Family Adventures supports the mission of OFM, and wants families to have a little relaxation, too, so they came up with a trip to combine the sun, surf, and super-mellow atmosphere of Mexico, just for us.
Thank you for supporting us. Thank you for supporting me. And thank you for keeping an eye on the outdoor generations to come. It matters.