Why we chose patches to help travelers give back

Why we chose patches to help travelers give back

Since founding Outpatch I’ve had to “pitch” the concept to a wide range of willing and unwilling listeners. The first reaction generally goes something along the lines of “Neat idea….but why patches?”

It actually took me a while to develop the real, coherent answer to this question but what I started out with was something along the lines of “Because everybody loves patches…don’t you?” It turns out for most people the answer was ”no, not really” paired with a slow shuffling away.

So maybe I was just a little more jazzed about patches than the average person.

While traveling, I wanted a way to remember my experiences and patches became the symbolic, practical, and inexpensive way to do so.

Yes, my dog Raven is as weird as she looks

Patches also happen to be quite a thing in the military world and my service in the Army only exacerbated what has become a diagnosable obsession with them. Eventually, I discovered there was actually a word for this obsession - scutelliphilly, the hobby of collecting emblems. From ancient worshipers collecting badges of their various pilgrimages, to the modern American girl and boy scout patches representing skills and achievements, the patch symbolic of a journey taken has been and remains a popular concept.

Why? Because they are an immediately identifiable, physical manifestation of a part of our identity. They remind us where we’ve been, what we’ve seen, and what we’ve accomplished. They signal to the world what communities have shaped us and to a greater and lesser extent, what communities we are bound to.

This history helped me frame what I wanted to accomplish with Outpatch - take the concept of the patch as a symbol of community and use it to empower change in the places each patch represents.

Outpatches act as a gateway for building community identity, driving community engagement, and empowering community changemakers.

Whether you’re a fellow patch fanatic or considering dipping your toes into the world of patches for the first time, we’d love to have you join us on this journey.

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