Mobilization and Events

Atlanta OWN-IT: Q & A with Candi Gaul and Seth Wolf


Millennials are making a difference when it comes to getting others loving the outdoors by hosting OWN-IT Summits in their cities.

OWN-IT’s are two-day events filled with outdoor activities and project planning to address obstacles that are keeping young people in their communities from getting out and about. They are hosted by individuals who have attended prior Outdoor Nation Signature and On-It Summits and felt inspired to keep the awareness alive.

Meet Candi Gaul and Seth Wolf, two college seniors at the Atlanta University Center (including Morehouse, Spelman and Clark Atlanta). They became fellows for the Atlanta Campus Club program in 2012 and also attended the 2012 ON-IT in Atlanta and the 2013 Signature Summit in Chapel Hill. Now, they are looking to get students from Spelman and Morehouse outside with an OWN-IT this fall.

I chatted with Candi and Seth about how the OWN-IT experience has been so far and what’s in store for those interested in attending the 2013 Atlanta OWN-IT.

Courtney Lambert: What are some of your favorite outdoor activities?
Seth Wolf:
That’s a tough question…I love everything from kayaking, camping, hiking, snowboarding and mountain biking
Candi Gaul: Mine would have to be horseback riding

CL: What was your first Outdoor Nation Summit experience like?
Candi: Last November, my favorite portion was the North Face talk. The speaker told us a story about how nothing could stop him from snowboarding and you could hear and see his passion when he spoke to us. So besides the recreation aspect of it, I really enjoyed the engagement.
Seth: I also really enjoy the variety of the groups that gather for the summits. It’s a total mix and match of people that you wouldn’t think would all be gathering for the same thing. That’s really cool to see

CL: What impressed you the most about the Summits?
Candi: That there is national funding and organization that is motivated, driven and facilitated by the millennial generation to get outdoors. So often we hear parents and others speak about the millennial generation in a negative, lazy connotation and Outdoor Nation is not only slaying [that image] but giving us a platform to perform. It’s really refreshing to see funds allocated to something that seems trivial to what other people might think, but I see the need to get people up and outdoors.

CL: Why did you decide to host an OWN-IT?
Seth: It all started with wanting to start a campus club at the Atlanta University Center for our local community. In doing that, we got introduced to hosting an OWN-IT. After that, everything just fell into place.

CL: Where will it be held and when?
Candi: A date has not been finalized yet, but it will be Friday and Saturday in September and it will be hosted at Stone Mountain Park in metro Atlanta about 20 minutes away from campus. There will be camping and then the next day we will hike up Stone Mountain and then facilitate conversation about what it means to get up and get outdoors and how can we help our peers do the same.

CL: Who can attend?
Seth: This OWN-IT will be hosted mainly for our campuses, but it is open to anyone.
Candi: We have about 25 participants and are looking for an overwhelming response, but since we don’t have a finalized date yet, we haven’t cleared to motion, but are pretty excited about this opportunity ON has presented us with.

CL: What is the main goal you would like to accomplish with the OWN-IT summit experience?
Seth: I think facilitating the discussion of why are we not outdoors more and opening others minds to the possibilities. We want to show them that the opportunities exist and we can get outdoors and do all these great things and not be stuck in a concrete jungle all the time.
Candi: Also, mostly to present opportunities to our campus. Currently on campus there is a negative vibe to the outdoors mainly because of resources or seemingly limited resources- to get up and get outdoors it’s like a far away galaxy. We want to break down those barriers so they can see what is in their backyard.

CL: How can interested individuals get involved and where can they get more information on attending?
Seth: With social media such as Facebook, Twitter- those are two ways we are trying to reach the masses.