This season, we have the honor of partnering with artist Lamont Joseph White and youth development nonprofit Hoods to Woods to bring you a collection of retro-inspired base layers available through our retail partners.
This collaboration furthers our efforts to include women of all colors, ethnicities, and talents in the outdoors and to connect underrepresented communities with the wonders of these spaces.
“The power of what we see informs what we know to be normal. There are times when that needs to be re-evaluated when it comes to representation. I appreciate the opportunity to partner my art with Krimson Klover’s brand to create something collaboratively beautiful and help further this conversation.”
- Lamont Joseph White
We’re donating 5% of sales from our Solar Retro Base Layer Top and Day Dawning Base Layer Top, featuring Lamont's designs that celebrate diversity and inclusion in the outdoors, to Hoods to Woods.
Hoods to Woods launched in 2009 with the idea that everyone should have access to the outdoors. Co-founders Brian Paupaw and Omar Diaz grew up in underserved communities in New York City and understand that sharing their passion for the outdoors can have a positive impact on inner city youth.
We connected with Brian, who also serves as the nonprofit’s Executive Director, to learn more about why the mission of Hoods to Woods matters.
What was your experience like as a youth? Did you have any positive mentors to look up to?
I grew up in NYC housing projects, where it was easy for youth to fall into a tough crowd. I didn't have any positive mentors back then. At the time everyone looked up to the drug dealers in the neighborhood, they were always around looking to recruit you and unfortunately I let them influence me.
How were you introduced to snowboarding and how did it empower you to overcome obstacles?
I was introduced to the sport from classmates at Parsons School of Design in 1997. At that time, I already made the transition from the streets to higher education, so I was curious because my friends in college spoke so highly of snowboarding. But I was hesitant because as a young man I wasn't into board sports, I thought it was a thing only White kids did. No one in my Hood at the time was into any board sports whatsoever, but in college I gave it a try and fell in love!
What inspired you to start Hoods to Woods?
Growing up in the projects, I understood first hand the challenges inner city youth face. I wanted to provide a positive outlet and an opportunity to participate in a sport that can be really transformative. There's goal-setting, encouragement, accomplishment, and community on the hill. Coming back to teach has been humbling and rewarding.
What is the mission of Hoods to Woods?
Our mission is to introduce the outdoors to inner city children through snowboarding. Our work matters because we’re creating opportunities for underserved communities to participate in winter sports at no cost. This is a huge obstacle for many people.
Why do you believe it’s important for underserved youth to have opportunities to experience the outdoors in community?
It’s important for the future of our planet! In order for us to have environmental awareness in the inner city, we need to get out there and visit these places to see why it’s important for us to protect them. Also, it engages youth to get outdoors and they get to have time away from the city and enjoy nature.
In what ways have you seen your programs make a difference in the lives of participants?
So many of our students come back as volunteers and teach the new incoming students, so they become lifetime snowboarders. It’s amazing to see this!
Hoods to Woods aims to inspire kids. How do Hoods to Woods participants inspire you?
It all inspires me! The students are progressing to be able to ride more difficult terrain. The volunteers want to make a difference in helping others. Hoods to Woods has changed my mindset to recognize when things are going crazy in the world, there is a beautiful side to humanity with people caring—from donating to volunteering. It’s very humbling to see the support come in.
Why is it important to connect youth with positive adult mentors?
It’s very important because some youth may not have enough mentors or role models. At Hoods to Woods we want our students to see themselves in the future, so our volunteer base is super diverse.
What are you most proud of in your 13 years running the organization?
I’m proud we stuck it out over a decade when we had minimal support. What kept Omar and I at it was the love for snowboarding and the mountains. We knew it was the right thing to do, and with time, we’d figure out how to get organized. At the time we started Hoods to Woods, there wasn’t a strong POC leadership base in winter sports or resources to mentor us. But seeing the students come back to volunteer is incredible! That’s the reward—seeing them go through the programming and take the initiative to teach others the same way they were taught.