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Thursday, April 6 • 2:30pm - 4:00pm
The Exclusive Outdoors

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So often outdoor activity is equated with health and wellness. We are told to take a walk, go for a hike, get some fresh air. As a single mom, who has two incredible and very active children who love to be outside, I made a decision to be more active. This summer, when my kids wanted to ride their razor scooters, I looked for a razor scooter to ride with them. They don’t make them for people my weight, but I took a chance and got one anyways, and so far so good. Before too long the seasons changed and we were eagerly anticipating snow. My kids have all the necessary gear to withstand the cold, snow pants, gloves, hats, baklavas, snow boots, scarves, you name and it they have it. It occurred to me my first day out with them, I did not have any of the gear I needed to be outside playing in the snow with them. Meanwhile, my parents moved and found the cross country skis I had stored at their house in college, and promptly forgot in the intervening decade and a half. As I transported the skis in my car, my son asked if he could try them out. In the persistent manner of 4 year olds, he continued to ask to ski over the next several weeks. This prompted me to get serious trying to locate winter gear in my size. It doesn’t exist. I was lucky to find some men’s layers, because apparently it is acknowledged that men are generally bigger. However, there is nothing for women at all in my size. My personal solution to this problem is a combination of truly ugly men’s base layers and custom designed and made outerwear. I acknowledge my solution works because I have the resources and determination to make it work, but I am paying more than twice what it would cost anyone else for the gear I have. Moreover, not everyone has the resources available to have custom gear made. How is it then in a country plagued by an obesity epidemic, that the people who could most use time outside and reconnecting with the outdoors have an invisible barrier to overcome? A barrier that is based on the size you are coupled with industry deep stereotypes and assumptions about your capabilities and interests.

Thursday April 6, 2017 2:30pm - 4:00pm
Union 3rd Floor Hallway