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Guest Feature: Patrick Dunn, Out in the Wild

Haven Member Highlight, written by Patrick Dunn: Founder of Out in the Wild and Timber & Grit Designs

OUT in the Wild believes that all people deserve access to the outdoors and the skills to thrive outside. We provide community-based programs that teach outdoor technical skills and introduce newcomers to various outdoor activities in an inclusive environment. Many people feel intimidated by the outdoors for many reasons. Often this is because they don’t feel welcome due to historical exclusion or because they don’t feel confident in their skills to succeed.

Many haven’t had access to the knowledge and skillset in the first place. OUT in the Wild hopes to fill in the gaps in the outdoor industry, and through our programs, we hope to create more visibility for members of underrepresented communities, particularly the LGBTQIA2S+ community.

We recognize that to provide access to our programs, we need to offer them equitably. Our programs are all priced on a sliding scale, and we offer scholarships to folks who need financial assistance. Our merch sales help to offset the cost of our courses in order to equitably provide a stable income for our guides. We believe that through our programs and business practices, we are creating a new model for outdoor programs, one that is equitable, inclusive, and financially sustainable.

We hope these events can be safe spaces to walk into and meet new people while learning something new. Additionally, we hope to curate a space for experienced outdoor athletes to share their stories and inspire others to get involved. Eventually, we hope participants in all our programs and events will feel able to be open and OUT in the wild.

Timber & Grit Designs

Among my favorite things are mountains and wood grain. Bringing both of these together through my art has been such a gift. During the initial 2020 quarantine, with a surplus of scrap wood in my basement and an incredible amount of time on my hands, Timber & Grit Designs was born.

I dreamt of days past – climbing at Smith Rock, exploring the mountains in my backyard – these wood-burned landscapes were my way to continue to connect with the wild places that I love. The smell of burned cedar, the lines of ridges and rocks, the expression of the kaleidoscope of sky color, it is an honor to spend my free time beyond rock climbing and guiding to share my creativity with the world.

At Timber & Grit Designs, I create original wood-burned landscapes as well as functional home decor. I accept custom orders of all shapes and sizes and love making my customer’s visions into a reality.

Both of these projects tap into the most authentic version of myself. My love for the outdoors, my passion for building community, my value in making the world a more inclusive place, and my need to express myself creatively to feel grounded and whole. It boggles my mind to think that I somehow stumbled upon this life that lets me do all of this through my own business ventures, all as a result of the pandemic.

Now 1 year into building OUT in the Wild and a little under 2 years making my art as Timber & Grit Designs, I feel I have finally carved a unique path for myself that checks all the boxes and fulfills so many of my values.

I felt alone as a gay outdoor enthusiast and rock climber. Eventually, I heard from so many that they felt the same way. So I decided to create a space to change that, to give people like me the opportunity to connect with each other, learn, grow and have fun.

I hope to offer OUT in the Wild programs across North America and internationally within the next 5 years. I also am building this business to be as ethical and community-minded as possible. I hope for it to be a collaborative and cooperative business model with guides and employees from diverse backgrounds.

For Timber & Grit, I hope I can continue to express myself and that it allows me the freedom to continue to make art in a financially sustainable manner.

The best way to connect with me is through Instagram @patrickoutinthewild and my business accounts @out_inthewild and @timberandgritdesigns.

If you’d like to support OUT in the Wild, check out our merch and apparel on our online store at www.outinthewild.org. Sales from our merch and apparel all go towards scholarships and making our sliding scale model sustainable. And it helps get the word out!

Before becoming a Haven member, I struggled to find the focus and drive to work on these projects and sit in front of my computer at home, and coffee shops were often too loud. The Haven has given me the space and culture to focus while also helping me make amazing connections with local folks doing similar work or who are willing to help!

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