The outdoors provides many important benefits to our well-being, yet kids today
spend a large portion of their time on some device and indoors. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, children (ages 8-12) spend an average of four to six hours a day on screens, and teens spend up to 9 hours.
That’s why Maroon Bell Outdoor recently donated Weekender Backpacks to Cottonwood Institute in Denver, Colorado to encourage underserved youths to explore the outdoors and inspire connection, both with nature and each other. Check out their story!
Cottonwood Institute’s Mission
Cottonwood Institute is an award-winning education non-profit that works with middle and high school students to discover the outdoors and become change makers in their community. Inspiring the next generation to “explore, learn, change” is at the heart of the organization. Cottonwood Institute has multiple school programs and clubs that encourage students to protect the environment and be civically engaged.
Backpacks Given to the Change maker Program
The non-profit’s new Changemaker Program gives students an opportunity to dig deeper into environmental topics, as well as support them in becoming leaders in their communities. The program includes fun outdoor experiences like overnight camping, hiking, and learning outdoor skills.
In the summer of 2022, Maroon Bell Outdoor donated Weekender Backpacks to students for a weekend trip. The students and program leaders loved them! Not only did they praise the bags for being beautiful and well-constructed, but they also had a special moment upon receiving them.
Students Share What They’ll Carry
Chelsea, a program co-leader, emailed us after the trip, “We did a little exercise where each student shared what they were going to “carry with them" in their pack before they received it: they said things like joy, friendship, laughter, and relationships. It was a very sweet ceremony and it meant a lot.”
The backpack was more just than a bag for gear — it represented the start of a new journey for these students. It will also serve them for years to come as they explore more of the outdoors, and themselves.
Giving Back to Non-Profits in Denver
At Maroon Bell Outdoor, we support people from all walks of life to reconnect with nature. From crafting unique and usable clothing to giving back to local non-profits, we’re passionate about making the outdoors a welcoming place for everyone. It’s particularly rewarding when we’re able to partner with organizations, like the Cottonwood Institute's Changemaker Program, to positively impact the next generation.