Twinning is Winning: Twin Territory

There are plenty of proverbs that relate the importance of the youthful generation. F.D.R., for example, once said, “We cannot always build a future for our youth, but we can always build our youth for the future.” Yes, it is certainly a popular tenet, this idea that the future lies in the hands of our children, yet how often do we act upon those idioms or embrace that new generation? We  lament the habits of youth as often as we make claims to their influence; we complain that their fingers are glued to their phones, yet what moves do we make to help introduce them to the beauty of the outdoors or the joy of a new hobby? Where we have turned our shoulders on this new generation of tech-savvy kids, they’ve stepped in as their own role models. Meet brothers AJ, Jace and Cameron Garcia, the masterminds behind Twin Territory.

The Garcia kids are the antithesis of the typical Generation Z. They love being outdoors and they love sharing that experience with their local community of teens and kids. They’re anti-video games and pro-outdoors, but they still use their adeptness with technology to their advantage. We jaded adults may know it’s important to get kids outside in order to sustain this industry, but the Garcias are showing us how.
The family’s sport of choice is fly fishing, a hobby intrinsically tied to the quiet beauty of nature. Twins AJ and Jace started fly fishing when they were just 4 or 5, and received their first small, custom rods from Santa when they were little kids. Their toddler brother Cameron started tagging along, learning to cast before he was even out of diapers. As they grew up, the brothers would look forward to the weekends, knowing they harbored new adventures and fishing spots.
As young teens, AJ and Jace were experienced fly fishers; as they’d float the A Section of the Green River, they started to receive attention. “Guides would stop and compliment us on our casting skills and tell us that they wished their kids or grandkids were as passionate about the sport as we were,” AJ remembers. The brothers quickly realized that the young relatives of those guides weren’t unique, and that much of their generation were uninterested in the draw of the outdoors. “We would sometimes call friends to see if they wanted to go out with us and quite often they weren’t too interested and spent a lot of their time playing video games.” As boys who had grown up on the slippery rocks and weeded trails of the outdoors, the habits of their friends were bewildering.
It was around this same time that their aunt suggested they start a blog about their fishing exploits to share the beautiful places they traveled to and the fish they caught. The boys took it one technologically-advanced step further and began a Facebook page named Twin Territory. “We thought of the name because we are twins and we love the outdoors and like to claim it as the territory we want to spend our time in,” says AJ. “That was a few years ago and it is still going!”
The vision of Twin Territory has since grown, from simple message board to an influential, multifaceted organization that’s persuading the youthful generation to connect with the outdoors and each other.
“Twin Territory, at first, was more of us just trying to share a message of how important it is to make sure kids are getting back into the outdoors,” AJ explains. “We were often invited to events and expos to have booths so that we could talk to the kids one-on-one. Eventually we had the idea of holding free events for kids to come to and be able to try out a new outdoor sport or hobby.” Those events, it turned out, were exactly what kids their age needed get involved in the outdoors and new sports. At these super fun events, hosted by the Garcias who are at an age that’s easy to relate to, kids learn a new sport, make new friends and, hopefully, become lifelong lovers of the great outdoors.
But they didn’t stop there. “Now on top of attending events and expos, holding free events, teaching classes to kids and more, we are also enjoying the opportunity to be Youth Coordinators of Trout Unlimited in our area and publicly speak to kids/teens and adults on a lot of different subjects on getting youth involved in the outdoors,” says AJ. Who better to understand how to get kids outside than kids themselves? As youthful advocates for fly fishing and other outdoor hobbies, the Garcias can convince other kids to get out of the house, and help adults learn how to do so too.
You can call them activists, and you can also call them humanitarians. The Garcias ask the kids in their community to donate their video games in exchange for outdoor gear, but even the video games go to a worthy cause. “We’ve had the honor of being able to deliver the video games to a local children’s hospital for the kids who are fighting cancer or another illness,” explains AJ. Even video games have a worthy place in the hands of kids who can’t spend time outdoors. It’s a unique symbiosis that makes the most of this new generation.
As longtime members of the outdoor community and investors in the retailers that cater to it, AJ and his brothers have some tips for our own community. “One problem that we have experienced personally is the gear,” he points out. “We were late bloomers and could never find waders or boots that would fit. If you want an adult as a customer, you will want to get them hooked young, but that can’t happen unless they can find or rent gear they can use at good price and that will fit them.” It’s an incredibly wise concept; of course this new generation can’t get involved in sports like fly fishing without the right gear, and if they don’t get started now they’re statistically less likely to pick up these hobbies as adults. If we can cater to this new generation, we’re not only helping them—we’re helping our future selves, too.
It’s so important to remember that this next generation is an integral part of our larger outdoor retailer community. In ten years, these will be the passionate fishers, climbers, bikers and runners who sustain our businesses. We need to do our part to ensure that side of the community blossoms too. “We have learned that there is an even bigger need than we first thought to get kids off the couch and into the outdoors,” notes AJ. “Surveys and statistics are showing that fly fishing is not on the radar for most of the kids today and we want to change that in a big way. We know we can’t make the change that needs to happen alone. We are hoping that we can partner up with other organizations to take the message to a lot more kids all over the country.”

Their visions are big, and they should be. “We are learning more and more every day that if we don’t start a big wave of focusing on more kids being introduced to fly fishing or another outdoor activity, technology willwin. If technology wins, our rivers, mountains, fish and more willlose.” There are big moves we can all make to help foster this younger side of our community, especially as retailers. But if you’d rather start small, AJ has one simple request: “Make yourself a rule, if you go out four times alone, somehow, someway on the fifth, try to introduce a child in your life to your passion.”

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