Since 1964, Ketcha Outdoors has provided kids of all ages with deep connections to the land, a vibrant community, and the confidence to create their sense of place in the world.
In January 2014, representatives from Ketcha Outdoors and the Community Bicycle Center came together with a brilliant idea: to establish a platform that would generate funding for their existing youth development programs and provide a unique opportunity for the community. This collaborative vision resulted in the birth of the Portland Gear Hub.
The Gear Hub was initially set up in the basement of the Portland YMCA, with a mission to collect, refurbish, and resell bicycles and outdoor gear at affordable prices. The proceeds from these sales would be channeled back into supporting the youth programs run by Ketcha Outdoors and the Community Bicycle Center. This innovative model created a win-win situation: the Gear Hub had a sustainable source of revenue for its operations, and both Ketcha Outdoors and the Community Bicycle Center received essential financial backing to expand their youth initiatives.
Within a year of its establishment, the Gear Hub had proven its viability and potential for growth. This success led to the decision to open a retail storefront in Union Station Plaza on St. John St. in April 2015. The new location provided increased visibility, allowing the Gear Hub to attract more donations, customers, and support from the community.
Over time, the partnership between the Gear Hub and Ketcha Outdoors deepened. As the Gear Hub flourished, it expanded its staff, and some former volunteers from Ketcha found permanent roles within the organization. This strengthened the ties between the two nonprofits and fostered a sense of unity and shared purpose.
Together, the Portland Gear Hub and Ketcha Outdoors continue to make a positive impact on the lives of young people in southern Maine. Their collaborative efforts have not only provided accessible outdoor gear and bicycles to the community but have also enabled youth to participate in enriching outdoor experiences, fostering personal growth, resilience, and a love for the great outdoors.
The history between the Portland Gear Hub and Ketcha Outdoors exemplifies the power of collaboration and how two organizations, with a shared passion for youth development and the outdoors, can join forces to create a lasting and meaningful impact on the community they serve.
At Ketcha Outdoors we believe all individuals deserve to:
- Have equitable access to nature, outdoor education, and outdoor gear
- Feel welcome in outdoor recreational communities
- Be treated with respect and dignity
- Have fun, build connections, and enjoy the outdoors
We are committed to building a diverse outdoor community that welcomes and celebrates Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and LGBTQIA+ individuals as participants, students, campers, and leaders.
Ketcha Grounds & Trails
Sitting on 107 acres of meadows, forest, streams, and wetlands, the Scarborough location offers a summer day camp, preschool and pre-k programs, after school care, and other nature-based youth programming. In addition, the property also features an extensive collection of walking and riding that are open to the public and eventually connect to the abutting 90-acre Scarborough Land Trust Libby Farm trail.
We invite families and friends to enjoy our property for hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and environmental education anytime Ketcha Outdoor programs are not in progress. Furry friends are also welcome to visit the property as long as they remain leashed. Click here for a Trail Map.
Sustainability goes with our mission at Ketcha Outdoors like healthy soil goes with our organic farm. Being outdoors provides a connection to the land, and helps grow an appreciation of nature that inspires people to get involved to conserve and preserve our Earth. While our environmental education programs inspire our campers to be stewards of the planet, we are taking direct action now to reduce our carbon footprint.