We had the good fortune of connecting with Kara Jensen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kara, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
Be Outdoors Arizona has a mission to get children outdoors and connecting with nature. We already knew that social media was having detrimental effects on kids and bullying has moved from the school yard to the computer. Now with the pandemic for the last 18 months, kids have been cooped up at home, not interacting with friends or making new friends. Again spending time on social media.
Being in nature, learning new skills and developing friendships can strengthen a childs self esteem, instill respect for both nature and people. With increasing physical and mental health we encouraging responsible citizenship in kids. We are also very focused on educational information regarding our environment, open spaces, and wildlife so as to bring in new generations of outdoor enthusiasts who understand that good stewardship and managment will ensure outdoor recreation for many future generations
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I own a marketing firm, Triffid Online Marketing and I had volunteered my time and skills to rebuild a website for Be Outddors Arizona in 2015. That turned into a marketing endeavor with the group and I grew our partnerships to over 100 nonprofits that had outdoor activities for kids, I started a Facebook page and grew that to 10,000 followers.
At the time my marketing firm served all sorts of small businesses and I had decided in 2019 to niche to outdoor recreation businesses. It was at this time the board of directors for Be Outdors Arizona reached out to let me know they were going to turn the project over to state parks or another entity, as they were becoming to busy with other commitments. When they were unable to find a taker and told me they were going to just shelve the project.
I resonated with the mission and I had put in a lot of work growing the audience and knew it was a needed service so I boldly asked if I could take it over and run with it. They said yes!
There are many activity sites out there and in most instances they cater to just one type of activity, or a certain level of skill. Many times those sites with many things to do or places to go have an overabundance of advertising, with pop up ads, and ads that are unrelated to the activities. Which I know that I am not the only one annoyed by them!
What sets Be Outdoors Arizona apart is we offer a multitude of activities at all levels of experience. We can supply that ‘next-step’ for someone growing into a new hobby. They can continue their journey from beginner to expert on our website event listings. In addition to offering a myriad of events, we offer educational information on our land, habitat and wildlife in Arizona. We have a goal to raise responsible stewards to ensure outdoor recreation can be had for future generations. Then of course there is Javiel the Javelina, our spokesanimal who explores Arizona and the activities our partners host.
Yes, we do have advertisers, However for both the businesses benefit and the end user searching the site, those ads are targeted and relevant to the audience. And they aren’t pop ups that get in the way of what you are looking at! If you are looking at a learn-to-fish event you will see advertisments for bait and tackle store or a boat rental or a fishing guide service. A hiking event would have a hiking equipment store or a hiking guide service.
One of the biggest things I have earned is to ask the customer what they want! What does someone who is looking for something to do outdoors with their family want? What would make it easier, what do they want to know? What do retailers want when it comes to marketing? What don’t they like, what do they need? Always do customer validation before launching a busnesses!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, since I am more outdoorsy, I would take them out of the city! Arizona has such a diverse landscape! We have low and high deserts, We have rushing rivers, rock canyons, tall pines and juniper forests. Our wildlife is also abundant! Deer, elk, antelope, bison, javelina, lion, turkey, and all sorts of bird life. Don’t forget about all the cool lizards!
We do have some awesome museums and attractions like the Butterfly World and the Desert Botanical Gardens, Parks like Papago and those in Cave Creek are also full of wonder and beauty.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My first mentor of sorts was an eighth grade science teacher by the name of George Cox. He encouraged me to think beyond what I thought was possible and back then I didn’t think much was possible! In regards to Be Outdoors Arizona, I am grateful for support and encourgement from Rich Glinski and Jeff Spellman who sat on the board and allowed me to take the organization over and continue it’s mission. I also give credit to Eric Proctor, Doug Burt and Scott Lavin with the Arizona Game and Fish department who have shared resources, advice and encouragement in building Be Outdoors Arizona. I can’t leave out my current coaches, Cat Cohen, Melissa Lamson and Kimberly Mylls. They have been instrumental in my progress!