#OptOutside has always been about choice. The choice to put people ahead of profits, the choice to close our doors on the biggest day in retail and the choice to invite everyone to join us.
This year, we’re doing it again, and paying our employees to take the day off.
In the last three years, 15 million people and 700 organizations have created a new tradition to #OptOutside on Black Friday. We thank you all for your help building the movement, but our work’s not done.
Half the people in America don’t get outside even once a year to do outdoor activities. Not a jog around the block, a ride on a bike or a night in a tent.
That’s a real problem and you can read more about why, here.
For 80 years, REI has been working to awaken a lifelong love of the outdoors—for all. We believe it’s in our nature to be connected with nature. It’s our job to think of new ways to make great gear accessible, offer new outdoor experiences, and tell inspiring stories each day.
But when half the country doesn’t get outdoors, we need to make the case that time outside is a must-have, not a nice-to-have.
This year, we’re confronting the reality that day in, day out, many of us are looking down at our phones instead of up at the world around us. We are more connected now than at any point in history, but it has left us feeling more stressed and overwhelmed. Many people feel stuck in a loop.
We believe time outside can help break that loop.
That’s why we are investing $1 million to support the launch of a new initiative called Nature for Health in the University of Washington’s EarthLab to explore the connection between health and time outside.
We’re also working with hundreds of amazing nonprofits and brand partners in every community around the country. They’re the people who’ve been at the heart of #OptOutside since the beginning and they’ll be celebrating #OptOutside with us on the trails.
Please join us all outside this Black Friday and bring everyone you can. If you’re not sure what to do or where to go, we’ve made it easy by gathering ideas for you at REI.com/opt-outside.
Thank you for being a part of REI.
President and CEO