Since opening in Czech Village a few years ago, SOKO Outfitters has been a wonderful supporter of Indian Creek Nature Center.
The one-of-a-kind outdoor gear retailer has contributed to our annual campaign, donated cool gear for various raffles, and supported our Backcountry Film Festival, the Maple Syrup Festival, and other activities. During 2021’s National Philanthropy Day, SOKO Outfitters was honored as an Outstanding Small Philanthropic Organization by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Eastern Iowa Chapter.
SOKO Outfitters also stepped up when it was time to launch Creekside Forest School. We needed a way to ensure equity in our preschool by making sure all students would have outdoor gear (hats, gloves, boots, rain jackets, water bottles, and more!) needed to spend time outside. But we know that securing those items can be a significant investment for families. Through grant funding from SOKO Outfitters, ICNC now has a Creekside Forest School Gear Library so we can provide rain and winter gear for all students, removing a primary barrier to experiential, outdoor learning. That’s an incredible impact when students spend 85% of their time outside in all weather. For two years now, all families have chosen to utilize this gear – a 100% participation rate!
We checked in with one of SOKO’s owners, Steve Shriver, to get his thoughts on the partnership that has grown over the last few years between SOKO Outfitters and Indian Creek Nature Center.
ICNC: SOKO has been a valuable partner for the Nature Center for several years. What prompted you all to support the work of ICNC?
Steve: ICNC is aligned with SOKO in so many ways! From simply embracing nature, to education, and outdoor activities, it was a no brainer to partner with ICNC.
ICNC: Tell us a little about your decision to support the preschool gear library in particular.
Steve: As much as we are a retailer, we are a community resource! We have the means to get the right gear to the kids so they can get the best experience at preschool.
ICNC: Do you have a favorite feature, event, or program of the Nature Center that you’d like to share? Or a particular memory of time spent at ICNC?
Steve: One of the best times we had was at a snowshoe event at ICNC. The Nature Center is a great place to hike around anytime of the year, and always attracts the best people!
ICNC: Why do you feel that having Indian Creek Nature Center as part of this community for the past 50 years and into the future is important for Cedar Rapids and the surrounding area?
Steve: As much as property development is necessary for growth in our town, having places to enjoy nature is equally important! ICNC has grown and evolved to meet the needs of the community in such a smart way. The team here at SOKO looks forward to seeing what the future holds!
ICNC: Anything else you’d like to share?
Steve: Keep an eye out for SOKO pint nights! ICNC has been featured more than any other nonprofit!
ICNC: Ah, yes. Pint night! Thank you for your support in that way, too! Cheers!