It’s the people who make AdventureKEEN exciting and fun, no matter which department they’re working in or what part of the country they call home. Get to know the members of AdventureKEEN through their day-to-day jobs, as well as their favorite things to pack for a hike.
Kimber Sherrod, our new Account Manager, will be covering much of the Southwest and West. It’s a role she’s looking forward to filling, especially for the “opportunities to meet new people and motivate them to explore the gifts from Spirit Nature.”
Her positive attitude and joy for life would be an asset anywhere. And when it comes to a weekend hike, she makes sure she brings a few need-to-have items along.
“I always pack first aid supplies, Benadryl, and, of course, snacks!” Kimber says.
Natalie Blankenship is AdventureKEEN’s new Online Product Manager. Natalie focuses on making sure our website is helping our online customers. This includes everything from passing along order tracking information, sharing coupon codes, and building out our growing newsletter The Goods.
Natalie’s focus on helping others extends to her pack, as well, especially when she’s planning a hike with her dog, Halli.
“If I’m out walking/hiking, Halli is always going to be with me, so my pack will include her travel water bowl, leash, and enough water for both of us!” says Natalie.
Those are two of the newer faces around the AdventureKEEN offices. With their energy and sights set on serving account and website customers, you might just bump into one of them soon. Be sure to tell them hello!
We are so excited to share the results of last year’s SHOP LOCAL, LIVE LOCAL campaign, in support of BINC and independent bookstores. In 2021, AdventureKEEN and indie bookstores raised a total of $10,381 for the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc). A matching $10,381 is being dispersed and mailed to 303 participating independent bookstores.
From AdventureKEEN President Richard Hunt: “If there’s a maxim that all booksellers and publishers endorse, it’s that reading is good for everyone. Thankfully, there is a group that defends the good work of independent bookstores and comic shops across America: Binc, superheroes of the book biz. Every year at about this time, as the cold, gray days of winter weigh upon us, we get to tally the SHOP LOCAL, LIVE LOCAL donations, and voilà—everything brightens and warms. We look forward to continuing our commitment to Binc and indie booksellers for years to come.”
Pam French, Executive Director of Binc, adds, “Richard and the team at AdventureKEEN are inspiring partners in our mission to help booksellers who are hit with a financial need from severe hardship or emergency. We’re grateful for AdventureKEEN’s long-standing advocacy and support of booksellers. Their support through the SHOP LOCAL, LIVE LOCAL campaign not only provides a generous donation to Binc, but AdventureKEEN is also sending a give-back to the stores who participated in the program in 2021. Thank you for spreading good across the country, and for demonstrating that when we work together and support each other, our communities thrive.”
The Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that coordinates charitable programs to strengthen the bookselling and comic bookstore retailing communities. Established in 1996, the core program provides assistance to bookstore and comic bookstore owners and their employees who have demonstrated financial needs arising from severe hardship and/or emergency circumstances. Since its inception, the organization has provided over $11 million in financial assistance and scholarships to more than 10,000 families. Support for the Foundation’s programs and services comes from all sectors of the book and comic industries. The Foundation was imagined and built by booksellers and proudly continues to be their safety net. It is Binc’s vision to continue to build a caring community of book and comic sellers. Additional information can be found at bincfoundation.org.
Through SHOP LOCAL, LIVE LOCAL, AdventureKEEN hopes to help readers find new outdoors activities and to reinforce the importance of shopping locally. The goal of the program is to enlarge the scope of support to Binc and provide an equal-dollar benefit to all participating bookstores. AdventureKEEN understands, emotionally and financially, especially after the past 2 years, the operational challenges and intrinsic rewards of selling books. Independent bookstores and independent publishers add immeasurably to their communities; it is amazing what book lovers can accomplish together. AdventureKEEN is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to donate to Binc again this year. We invite you to join our SHOP LOCAL, LIVE LOCAL campaign.
Any bookstore looking to participate in SHOP LOCAL, LIVE LOCAL can sign up here.
This is such a strong way to finish out the year! This upcoming weekend the Southern Appalachian Paddlesports Museum (SAPM) will host their 2021 Hall of Fame induction ceremony. This year Bob Sehlinger (Hoover/Inverness), who is currently owner & publisher of AdventureKEEN based in Birmingham, AL, will be inducted as part of the inaugural class. The induction ceremony will take place at the Southern Appalachian Museum in Asheville, NC.
Administered by the SAPM, the Southern Whitewater Hall of Fame “honors more than fifty heroes of our sport—Innovators, Pioneers, and Leaders—who have made it so that our region has become a worldwide mecca of whitewater paddling.
To merit induction, a nominee must have exhibited one or more of the following qualities in ways that have profoundly and positively impacted the sport of whitewater paddling in the Southern Appalachians: As an INNOVATOR by creating new methods, technologies, or products; as a LEADER among people in organizations or movements; or as a PIONEER who defined new pathways for others to follow, particularly in paddling sport.”
Bob Sehlinger has years of experience as a paddling guide and as a publisher and guidebook author, since moving to Birmingham, AL in 1982. Sehlinger is being recognized as the founder of SAGE, Inc., a provider of outdoor skills courses to thousands, and as an early leader in the outfitting industry, including serving as president of Eastern Professional River Outfitters Association. He is also the author of five guidebooks on canoeing and kayaking.AdventureKEEN is a leading independent outdoor activity and nature book publisher based in Birmingham. Sehlinger has guided the company through a long period of growth since founding his original outdoor publishing imprint, Menasha Ridge Press
The Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc) turns 25 this year, and AdventureKEEN is happy to celebrate with them!
While the recognition and applause have been going on all year, the official event kicks off virtually on August 12th at 8 p.m. EST. We’re excited to be on the list of Honorary Hosts.
Binc supports indie bookstores in their times of need. This wonderful organization has been a help to thousands of booksellers following hardships and emergencies such as illnesses, natural disasters, and, most recently, COVID health scares and the challenges of wading through an economy in lockdown.
AdventureKEEN is proud of the work that Binc does, and we’re happy to support the foundation through our Shop Local Live Local campaign. To join the Shop Local Live Local program, all bookstores have to do is enroll. That’s it. AdventureKEEN tracks all of the purchasing and sales of AdventureKEEN books through each participating store, and at the end of the year a certain percentage of sales is donated to Binc. Binc then donates that money to shop owners who need financial support to get through all kinds of personal and professional situations. All of this is made possible through the systems put in place by folks at PGW, Binc, and AdventureKEEN. It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we work together.
Hopefully, you’re beginning to see why Binc is such a big deal and why it’s worth celebrating. If Binc’s resume isn’t enough for you, check out the full roster of authors and creators (including Celeste Ng, Ann Patchett, Jason Reynolds, and Isaac Fitzgerald, just to name a few) that will be on-screen during the live event.
So get your tickets to attend the Binc 25th Anniversary Celebration, or register to be an Honorary Host. There will be lots to see and celebrate on August 12th!
This Saturday, June 5th, is the Alabama chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Hike for Hope event. As a supporter this year, AdventureKEEN is helping to raise awareness about suicide prevention because we believe that spending time outdoors can be a healing activity. We interviewed AFSP board member Amber Henderson earlier this week to learn more about the foundation and its programs. If you’re looking for a hike in the Birmingham area, we recommend Five Star Hikes: Birmingham, 2ed by Tom Spencer from our imprint Menasha Ridge Press. Though it’s getting a bit muggy down South, these five trails offer plenty of shade as you hike this weekend in support of AFSP’s Hike for Hope.
Aldridge Gardens — Found on page 53, this 1-mile loop circles around a lake and through some beautiful gardens. You’ll probably want to walk it more than once, noticing different flowers and creatures along the way.
Moss Rock Preserve: Boulder Field — This can be found on page 94 and offers a great hiking opportunity if kids will be joining you. It offers plenty of creeks to stand in and rocks to climb on.
Oak Mountain State Park: Peavine Falls — Found on page 126 of the book, this short (but steep) hike offers a true gem with a 20-foot waterfall followed by smaller waterfalls downstream. Take Tom’s recommended longer route, over a bridge and down the Falls Creek path, for the most enjoyable descent.
Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve: Nature Center to Hawk’s View — This is a longer (3-mile) out-and-back hike (on page 165 in the book), so take plenty of water. It’s a little more difficult than other hikes but worth it for the views!
Cahaba River Wildlife Refuge — Found on page 179, this hike will take you along a short part of Alabama’s longest free-flowing stream (200 miles total). Wear water shoes because you’ll want to walk out into the river to get a closer look at the unique and lovely Cahaba lilies (in bloom from mid-May to mid-June of each year).
As you can see, there are lots of beautiful places around Birmingham, Alabama, where you can get out and go for a walk or a hike. We hope these five hikes will inspire you to explore your local trails, as well as support and look into the work of the Alabama chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
The Saturday, June 5th, is Hike for Hope, here in Alabama. This annual event is hosted by the Alabama chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and AdventureKEEN is a supporter this year. They have a lot going on building awareness around suicide prevention, community solutions, and helping draft governmental policies. We caught up with Amber Henderson, Board member and volunteer coordinator for the Alabama Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and asked a few questions ahead of their Hike for Hope event.
Q: In helping people throughout Alabama, what are a few of the things your group focuses on throughout the year?
A: The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. We create a culture that is smart about mental health through education and community programs, research and advocacy, and support for those affected by suicide.
Through the work of our local volunteers, walk participants, advocates, and partners, we are helping to change attitudes about suicide and mental health. The Alabama Chapter engages with families, mental health professionals, community and local business leaders, and school administrators and faculty, as well as others interested in preventing suicide. By working together to improve the health and well-being of Alabamians, we are connecting people to resources and programs and removing barriers that stand in the way of people finding hope and healing.
Q: There are lots of ways to raise money. Why hiking?
A: Physical activity has been shown to improve mental health, and studies have indicated that spending time in nature reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. Hiking seemed like a natural choice to promote well-being.
Q: How have things been for your organization during the pandemic?
A: Navigating through the uncertainty and restrictions of the pandemic has definitely been an adjustment for us, but we feel the work we’re doing is more important than ever. We quickly adapted many of our prevention education programs to a virtual format, and since last year, the Alabama Chapter has hosted over 900 attendees through our virtual and in-person prevention education programs, speaking engagements, Advocacy Forum, and Survivor Day event.
Q: Generally speaking, how have things been for the people your group is advocating for?
A: Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in this country. It touches millions of lives—people of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds—but the research is clear: suicide is preventable, and the more people who stand up for suicide prevention and mental health, the more lives we can save.
It may be some time before we can fully know the extent of COVID-19’s impact on rates of suicide in 2020 and 2021, but it’s fair to say that the pandemic has created stress for people, with many feeling isolated from their loved ones and from their pre-pandemic routines. It’s also worth reminding ourselves (and others) that Black, Indigenous, and Hispanic communities in particular have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a variety of challenging experiences for people, no matter if you have a personal struggle, are concerned about a family member or someone close to you, or have experienced a loss. It is crucial in this time that we focus on shoring up our mental health and well-being.
Q: What is the biggest challenge facing your group right now?
A: While our work and goals remain the same, our challenge now is to determine how we can best engage and bring hope to people in a post-pandemic world. We know our work is needed now more than ever. Mental health and preventing suicide must continue to be a top priority.
We are thankful for the work that AFSP is doing and hope you will check in with those around you, talk openly about mental health, and take care of yourself—you are not alone! To register or learn more about Hike for Hope, visit www.afsp.org/ALHikeforHope. To learn other ways you can get involved with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, visit www.afsp.org.
We are in this together, and help is always available. If you’re feeling alone and struggling, you can also reach out to The Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.