The KMB Communications team is a passionate group. We’re passionate about our clients, about technology, about communications and wordsmithing, our families and our pets, and also about physical activity, the environment, and the great outdoors. Our industry peers don’t always see our commitment to fitness and our love of the outdoors, but these are important parts of our personalities. Whether it is taking a summer Friday afternoon off to hike through the mountains or taking a “plank selfie” and sharing it on social media, we understand that to give our best to our clients, we have to make our own health and well-being a priority.

That’s why we were so excited to hear about the #OptOutside initiative from sporting goods co-op REI. If you haven’t heard, REI has announced that it will be closing all 143 of its stores on Black Friday – traditionally the largest retail sales day of the year. Not only that, they will be paying all their employees, while asking them to “head outside” for the day and spend time reconnecting with nature and family and friends.

“We believe that being outside makes our lives better. And Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of this essential truth. We’re a different kind of company—and while the rest of the world is fighting it out in the aisles, we’ll be spending our day a little differently. We’re choosing to opt outside, and want you to come with us,” writes REI President and CEO Jerry Stritzke.

REI has published a countdown at the site and asks page visitors to join in and spread the word. You can publish photos of where you’ll be “opting outside,” view a gallery of inspiring outdoor scenes, and find hiking or biking trails near you using the locator on the site. If our experience with the search tool is typical, however, you may have more luck using Google to do a local search for trails in your area, or simply ask like-minded family and friends.

We don’t often think of the audiovisual industry as being connected in any way to the great outdoors, but we are making that connection, and we’re asking that #AVTweeps and #CEDIATweeps do the same. Let’s face it; most of us are stuck in desk jobs at least part of the day. If you’re a project manager or installer, you’re probably spending one-third of your time at your desk, one-third on the road, and the rest at client worksites. This is not exactly conducive to getting in shape or staying that way.

Yet, we know there are many “weekend warriors” among us. Those who like to hike, bike, ski, snowboard, or maybe even just enjoy a pick-up game of football with your friends. Maybe it’s been far too long since you’ve seen the side of the mountain from anywhere but an airplane cabin. If you live in a major metro area or city, maybe you haven’t seen much of nature at all that wasn’t filtered through a lens and projected onto a 4K screen. It’s time to change that. If not right now, November 27 is as good a day as any.

Those of us in the AV industry spend a lot of time focused on how to use technology to create a more life-like, immersive audiovisual experience. It’s important to take time to immerse yourself in the world around you, too.

Why not join REI, KMB Communications and countless others who choose to #OptOutside on Black Friday? Better yet, why not make it the start of a commitment to take at least one weekend a month where you turn off technology (or at least reduce it to a bare minimum) and spend the day outdoors with friends and family? Whether you choose to spend it being active, simply relaxing, or a combination of the two, you’ll return with a new perspective on the world and better able to serve your customers.

Catch us on Twitter or Facebook and let us know how you will spend your day when you #OptOutside on Black Friday, November 27 – but you’ll have to do it before the 27th, since we’ll be outside!