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Giving Tuesday: Moving mountains together

November 28, 2022

Found in Community news, Activities

2022 was a huge year for giving back to the outdoors – and we’re here to celebrate that. Did you know that MEC continues to dedicate nearly $1 million each year to our Outdoor Impact program? That’s on top of the over $48 million given to outdoor causes since our community giveback started back in 1987.

Check out what MEC and our Outdoor Impact partners have been up to in 2022 below – from avalanche safety training grants to kids’ mountain biking programs, it’s a huge list of highlights.

Speaking of highlights, we want to say a big thank you for Giving Tuesday: with your support of Sock Week, MEC and Smartwool were able to donate $15,000 to the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. It’s just one of the many ways our community has come together to give back to the outdoors this year.

Events that give back

This year, in-person events returned to MEC. We were so excited to welcome people in stores with The Empowerment Festival, An Evening with Tommy Caldwell, Pride Climbs and Season Openers. We even kept the virtual fun rolling with Climb for Climate.

In total, our 2022 events raised $53,836 for groups like The Lady Alliance, Protect Our Winters Canada, the Climbers’ Access Society of BC and more. Big thanks to everyone who joined us – stay tuned for more!

Photo: Tommy Caldwell at the sold-out event to share his latest film CUDDLE and meet MEC members.

Gear that gives back

As an outdoor retailer, donating gear is one of the most effective ways we can help break down barriers that prevent more people from getting outside and connecting to nature.

In 2022, we launched Queer Gear Kits, a new annual initiative, which provided a total of $17,000 in funding and camping gear from MEC for four LGBTQ2S+ community groups getting more folks outside.

This year, as part of our continued journey to Truth and Reconciliation, we donated $40,000 worth of outdoor gear and technical clothing to four Indigenous communities to support land and water based outdoor programs.

Close up of people holding backpacks

Photo: Outdoor gear being packed up and distributed in support of local Indigenous communities.

Nationwide partners

We’re proud to partner with incredible Canadian organizations all year long. See what initiatives they’ve been working on in 2022, with support from MEC.

The Alpine Club of Canada

With 24 regional sections, year-round mountain adventures and a big system of backcountry huts, the Alpine Club of Canada has a 116-year history of getting into the alpine.

Group of people with mountaineering gear looking at a glacier and mountain

Peaks of 2022:

  • Developed and advanced the diversity and inclusion offerings of their Mountain Adventures Program (check them out – it’s a growing list).
  • Had over 80 participants in their women and non-binary, BIPOC, BIWOC and body-positive camps and instructional courses – awesome!

“It was truly exhilarating being in the mountains with such a supportive and enthusiastic team and I can’t wait for the next one.” – Gwen, participant in the 2021 BIWOC Intro to Mountaineering Camp

Association of Canadian Mountain Guides

Since 2013, MEC has partnered with the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, an organization that trains and certifies guides and instructors in climbing, backcountry skiing, hiking and more. We’re proud to support their Adventure Access program to connect young people with ACMG instructors for safe adventuring outside.

Climber on a rock wall smiling, with mountains in the background

Photo: ACMG top rope course with Multicultural Trail Network at Wasootch Creek.

Peaks of 2022:

  • DEI training for ACMG members and instructors, including 6 professional development workshops.
  • The Adventure Access Program supported a ton of groups, including Banff Pride, The Crush Collective, Vancouver Queer Climbers, Multicultural Trail Network, Soul of Mistaki and the Calgary Board of Education.

"This program provided such a safe and gentle as well as gender-affirming and accepting space that we could all be more ourselves, more vulnerable, and have a more fulfilling experience." – Participant from the Multicultural Trail Network course

Avalanche Canada

Avalanche Canada has been a valued MEC partner since 2001. A not-for-profit organization dedicated to public avalanche safety, they issue daily avalanche forecasts, offer avalanche awareness and education programs, and support instructors of Avalanche Canada training programs.

Avalanche training course with students working on shoveling technique

Photo: MEC Avalanche Safety Grant training course in action, with K8 Mountaineering group learning skills for the winter backcountry.

Peaks of 2022:

  • For the second year running, the MEC Avalanche Safety Grant provided Avalanche Canada Training courses to four organizations serving IBPOC (Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour) communities.
  • More than 12,000 participants completed a course through the Avalanche Training Program in the 2021–22 season (see this year’s courses).

“The Avalanche Safety Training is awesome, very informative especially for me who honed my skills in a mountaineering setting.” – Student from K8 Mountaineering, a recipient of the 2021 grant

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society

An MEC partner since 1988, CPAWS is Canada’s only nationwide charity dedicated solely to the protection of public land, freshwater and ocean with a strong national and regional presence across the country.

Peaks of 2022:

  • Launch of We Can’t Wait, a new interactive web hub created to help Canada reach its 30X30 goal: protecting 30% of land and ocean in Canada by 2030.
  • Ready to take action? Sign the pledge and find areas needing protection in your region.

Leave No Trace

An MEC partner since 2006, Leave No Trace Canada is dedicated to raising awareness for the importance of respecting Canada’s wilderness with research-based solutions to protect and enjoy our natural areas.

Peaks of 2022:

  • In one of many Truth and Reconciliation efforts, Leave No Trace staff and volunteers took part in cultural awareness training with Tataga Indigenous Consulting Firm.
  • Launched a new video series to share the 7 principles of Leave No Trace – watch one of them above and find the rest on their video training page.

Parkbus

Since 2010, MEC has supported Parkbus to connect people with nature through bus services to national and provincial parks from major cities across Canada. MEC partners with Parkbus to run two special programs focused on community building, education, inclusion and diversity in the outdoors: ActiveDays and NatureLink.

Group of hikers smiling on a trip with Parkbus

Photo: Parkbus group on a park trip with MOSAIC.

Peaks of 2022:

  • Brought more than 1,700 people to parks and conservation areas through ActiveDays programming.
  • Expanded outdoor programs to include canoeing, paddling, apple picking, maple syrup harvesting and mindfulness activities.

“Having guides organize the logistics and lead us through the parks have been wonderful and safe experiences to discover nature and meet new friends.” – Tony, regular Parkbus attendee

Parks Canada

Parks Canada and MEC have worked together since 2011 to offer Learn-to Camp, a program that builds confidence and skills so that new campers can discover the joy of tents and s’mores.

Group of people smiling around a campfire and roasting s'mores

Photo: S’mores time with Learn-to Camp at Porteau Cove Provincial Park, BC.

Peaks of 2022:

  • Hosted more than 1,000 Learn-to Camp events (in-person and virtual), including 40 overnight events to help more than 65,000 folks get outdoors.
  • Grew a fleet of regional programs like Ottawa’s new Learn-to Paddle activities and the expansion of Learn-to Paddle activities in Montreal.

“The most valuable part of this trip for my family was to learn how to camp. Now, my kids cannot wait for the next camping trip.” – Learn-to Camp participant, 2022

Protect Our Winters Canada

MEC was a founding Canadian partner of Protect Our Winters Canada when they started in 2018. They’re committed to uniting the outdoor community to advocate for policy solutions to climate change.

MEC Season Opener event with panelists onstage talking to the crowd

Photo: POW Canada athletes Erin Mielzynski and Mario Rigby with Ali Wines (Executive Director of POW) talking about climate action at the MEC x POW Season Opener event in Toronto.

Peaks of 2022:

  • Launch of their biggest program so far: a membership program called Game On Climate Change. It’s a first-of-its-kind program to incentivize and mobilize over 40,000 members to act for climate policy reform – and it’s free to join.
  • MEC also helped POW with fundraisers like the Climb for Climate Challenge, which raised $25,000 during Earth Month.

“We’re stoked to continue to connect with our communities in-person again through events like the MEC Season Opener and more to come!” – Arianne Dufour, Director of Development and Partnerships

Spirit North

Spirit North has worked with MEC since 2018 and is dedicated to empowering and inspiring Indigenous children and youth through power of sport and play. Working in partnership with communities, Spirit North co-creates and delivers regular land-based sport and activity programs designed to reduce barriers to participation such as geographical isolation and socio-economic limitations, while integrating community traditions, values, and beliefs.

Group of kids on mountain bikes on a trail with a lake and mountains in the distance

Photo: Kids about to roll out on the trails at the Outma Squilx’W Cultural School Bike Festival.

Peaks of 2021/22:

  • Delivered programs to over 5,400 Indigenous youth in 61 communities.
  • New Cannondale bikes were donated to Outma Sqilx’W Cultural School (Penticton Indian Band) to support the Spirit North Mountain bike program.

“These students have built skills and confidence through the Spirit North programs that will translate into deeper learning in the classroom and more likelihood that they will want to continue in sport in their futures.” – Teacher, Outma Sqilxw Cultural School

Take Me Outside

Since 2011, we’ve partnered with Take Me Outside, a non-profit organization that works collaboratively with educators and school boards to encourage children and youth to spend more time outside.

Photo: Kids escaping the classroom and enjoying class outside for Take Me Outside Day.

Peaks of 2022:

  • Take Me Outside Day: 6,500 teachers and 340,000 students participated with speaker presentations from Indigenous knowledge keepers, Olympic athletes, authors and environmental activists.
  • Take Me Outside for Learning Challenge: more than 5,000 teachers committed to taking their learning outside consistently with students for the school year.

On a local level

In 2022, we worked with local partners across the country, like Hike MTL, Belay All, Avalanche Quebec and the North Shore Mountain Bike Association (NSMBA).

MEC is proud to have been a supporter of NSMBA projects over the years, and we’re stoked to work with them again. We’re the sponsor for Expresso trail, which had 4 trail improvement days, thanks to 45 volunteers and 150 hours of work in the dirt.

A huge thank you to our Outdoor Impact partners and MEC members for their support all year long. Stay tuned to see what initiatives we have planned for 2023!


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