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It's never been difficult to give…

My name is Cliff Hodges – I’m the CEO and founder of Adventure Out.  We are an outdoor school based in Santa Cruz, CA and we operate programs all over the western United States: surf camps, rock climbing trips, wilderness survival skills instruction, backpacking trips, mountain biking tours, and more.  I founded the company in late 2004 with the mission of cultivating environmental stewardship through adventure programming.  In short, I started Adventure Out to help people fall back in love with nature.

1% For The Planet was a no-brainer for us – we joined in early 2006 as member number 430.  When people ask me if it was a difficult commitment to make, I always say with complete honesty: “The business was so new at that point, it was 1% off nothing – it was easy!”  But I firmly believe that making that commitment early on in the business was crucial because it just became business as usual – we give 1%, no questions asked.  As the company has grown, from serving a couple hundred people in 2005, to over 5000 last year in 2012, obviously the revenues have increased, and so has that 1%.  But it’s never been difficult to give, in fact, it’s always been a complete joy.

Last year our major donation went to the Portola Redwoods & Castle Rock Foundation. In the face of a huge California state budget shortfall, Castle Rock was one of our state parks that were put on the chopping block.  I joined a coalition of non-profits and businesses that stood up and raised $250,000.00 to keep that amazing park (and amazing rock climbing crag) open to the public.  It was quite a thrilling experience and victory for public open space.

Looking ahead, the thing I’m most excited about is teaching and inspiring other young adventure entrepreneurs to make that same charitable commitment. After years of getting requests to train guides and franchise our business, Adventure Out has just launched our Affiliation and Guide Training programs.  Both new guides/programs, as well as existing outdoor businesses can get training, and license the Adventure Out brand name to run and promote their own adventure programs.  We hope to be able to offer business coaching, marketing help, a powerful brand, and of course, a 1% For The Planet commitment to all the businesses that join the Adventure Out network.

(Thanks for sharing this Cliff- we’re so thankful for your support!)

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