Hike it Baby (HiB) is a non profit organization founded by Shanti Hodges that’s dedicated to getting young children together outside with their families, friends, and caregivers. The community if based around a website where families can find local hikes and join other families in their area for friendly, judgement -free community-based hikes and walks. Their are strong guiding principles in the community such as “leave no hiker behind” and always having a lead and a caboose to scoop up any hikers who need to stop and change a diaper or feed a child. The group supports and encourages parents and caregivers every step of the way to get outside often.
Hike it Baby started in 2013 in Portland, Oregon when Shanti noticed everyone in her new moms group sitting inside on a beautiful sunny day. She casually invited a couple of families to join her for a hike with her new baby and so began a new community of families exploring the outdoors together with very young children. In just a few short years HiB has grown to 330 branches across 48 states and 7 Canadian provinces. HiB hosts over 3,000 hikes EVERY month in the US and Canada, all of which are organized and led by volunteers.
Hike it Baby is part of Shanti’s personal mission to get a million families on the trails by 2020!
Here are some of the things Hike it Baby has going on now:
EDUCATE – Hike it Baby guides little ones through the Toddler Trail Stewards Program which 1) recognizes that we are all part of a larger outdoor community and our responsibility to take care of the land and trails that we use as well as 2) integrate early childhood academic skills while exploring the outdoors.
INSPIRE – Connect people with our Trails for All initiative. This includes low income families, minority populations, those with mobility challenges, families in recovery, single parents, and grandparents. The organization wants to ensure everybody has the opportunity to get outside and benefit from collectively moving and breathing together in nature.
EMPOWER – Through a grant with REI, Hike it Baby launched the 10,000 Women Trail Project, an initiative nationwide that focuses on getting women to commit to going on at least one hike per month for a year and bring a female friend. Women are truly underrepresented in the outdoor arena, but even less so are mothers. Hike it Baby is changing the landscape for women.