Toledo native Josie Scheiber has created a new program to encourage people in the area to interact with and educate themselves on the outdoors. SafeHikes Toledo is an all-inclusive group that allows people to share their love of traveling and nature with others, and provides safe resources for everyone to do so.
Build physical and emotional safety
“The mission behind SafeHikes is to serve as a community and resource for anyone who has felt excluded for unfair reasons. The aim is to create a safe community of outdoor enthusiasts, so you don’t have to worry about physical or emotional safety because of who you love, the color of your skin or your individual culture,” says Scheiber.
Scheiber has loved the outdoors since they were a kid and, through conversation with others, found that many people wanted to experience nature but did not have the support or resources they needed to do so. They began SafeHikes to share their experiences and begin a much-needed conversation on the importance of safety and inclusion in the environmental community.
“After I decided to rebrand my website into something more outdoor-focused, I realized I wanted to do more than simply write about the thing I love. Instead, I wanted to find a way to actively show people just how enjoyable and freeing the outdoors can be,” says Scheiber. “One of the biggest concerns I encountered when talking to people about this mission was safety, particularly within traditionally marginalized groups. As someone who constantly needs to look over their shoulders, I knew I wanted to create a safe space for outdoor enthusiasts to feel more confident and prepared when trekking outside.”
Scheiber has started a Facebook group for members to share their own personal journeys surrounding outdoor physical activities, attend group events and encourage safety and community conversation when adventuring outdoors. Many of the group members have shared photos and recommendations from their own outdoor excursions and the group fosters an encouraging environment for anyone who wishes to spend more time in nature.
SafeHikes has plans to create a brick-and-mortar location and offer lendable outdoor materials and resources. The library would include educational classes, hiking materials, outdoor gear, camping resources and more. Scheiber is working to achieve nonprofit status for SafeHikes and to provide the materials completely free of charge on a borrow-and-return basis.
There are no barriers to joining the SafeHikes community; all ages and demographics are welcome. There is no previous outdoor experience needed.
Scheiber also operates a website called The Semi Modern Life to share blog posts and information about their fresh air activities and what they have learned from their time outdoors.
More information about SafeHikes can be found via the SafeHikes Facebook page or online at The Semi Modern Life. If you are interested in joining the SafeHikes group you can fill out the interest form on Josie’s website, or join the Facebook community page.