A group of recent BYU graduates are launching an event-based app designed to help people find outdoor activities, make new connections and get outside.
The idea for OutdoorPals came to BYU alumnus Kevin Wallace soon after he graduated from BYU with an undergraduate degree in history.
“I had been living down in Provo for years, and then I moved up to Ogden where I didn’t know hardly anyone at all. It was a whole new group and so I was looking for new friends,” Wallace said.
While on a ski trip with his old friends from BYU, Wallace shared his difficulty finding new people around him to go skiing and rock climbing with. “Then one of us said, ‘there needs to be an app for that.’ And with that idea, we actually stopped at the dollar store, bought a notebook and started writing down ideas. From that, we came up with OutdoorPals.”
Wallace said the purpose of the app is to help people connect over similar interests. In the app interface, the user lists the types of outdoor activities (such as winter sports, hiking, rock climbing, walking and more) and creates “events” to invite other users to join.
Co-founder and fellow BYU alumnus Josh Tunick said users have to be “accepted” into others’ events in order to participate. This is to ensure safety and security when planning outdoor activities with strangers online.
“If you’re going to do an activity, you just say, ‘I’m going to do this activity. Who’s interested?’ and it easily breaks the ice and opens the door to new connections,” Tunick said. “It’s a way to get people together, to be healthy and to express a shared interest in what they like to do.”
Another purpose of the app is to help get people outside and enjoy the outdoors — even those who have no experience.
BYU Outdoors Unlimited employee and BYU junior Jacob Burgoyne said he could see himself and other students benefitting from a service like OutdoorPals by just going outside, moving and being active.
“Being active outdoors can be empowering for many people, whether it’s developing their self-confidence or learning to take risks. There’s a lot of benefits to being outside for emotional health,” Wallace said. “I think this can be a great way for college students especially to relieve some stress and meet new people.”
The beta version of the app will launch Feb. 18, and users can sign up now to join the online community of OutdoorPals, through its website or Instagram at @getoutdoorpals.