November’s Awesome Ottawa award goes to Megan Kelly and Asiya Hilowle to support their free lending library for camping gear.
“Accessing the outdoors is an incredibly beneficial way to improve one’s physical and mental health,” explains Megan, “and spending time camping is a really fun way to get outdoors. Unfortunately, there are a number of barriers to doing so for many folks, including the costs associated with getting gear. So, the Adventure Report Camp Gear Lending Library loans camping equipment to people in the Ottawa and Gatineau region for free!”
“Equipment is organized into ‘camp kits’ designed so that borrowers have everything they need to go camping,” she continues, “from sleeping bags to the tent to a cooler, stove, and pots and pans. We even include flashlights so nobody gets lost in the dark! Organizing and loaning the gear in this way is also reassuring for beginners, who no longer need to figure out what equipment they need to go camping.”
“When COVID struck last year and we were so limited in what we could do, it reinforced how important the outdoors was to my health and happiness. That realization is what prompted me to start operating the gear library, because I feel that everyone deserves to benefit from what the outdoors has to offer.”
“In addition to ‘regular’ camping gear,” adds Megan, “we’ve also been able to include some items designed to help the program be more inclusive, such as cookware and flatware that is kept Halal, and sleeping bags and pads that are specifically designed to fit people up to size 4X.”
You can check out the camping kits and book for next spring at adventurereport.ca/gear-library – or get in touch with Megan and Asiya if you have gently used gear you’d like to donate.
Megan is the face behind Adventure Report, a blog where she writes about and maps hiking, biking, and paddling routes in and around the city. Her friend and collaborator Asiya is an avid snowboarder, lover of books, basketball fanatic, and outdoor enthusiast.
Awesome Ottawa is part of a global movement of self-organizing chapters forwarding the interest of awesome in the universe, $1,000 at a time. At each chapter, 10 or so trustees each contribute $100 every month and review short applications received online to decide on the recipient of the pooled funds — usually a local project, but occasionally a particularly awesome one far away from home. Globally, over $5 million has already been awarded – $145,000 of that by Awesome Ottawa.
For more information, visit awesomeottawa.ca.