Every year we survey our Members to find out what they think of OutdoorLads and what impact it's had on their lives and every year we're amazed at the feedback we receive.
From our 2017 Member survey (completed by 670 Members in September 2017) these charts show the percentage of Members who 'agree' or 'strongly agree' with the following statements:
In addition, 73% said they had made new friends, 68% were proud to be a Member of OutdoorLads, 75% said OutdoorLads provides positive role models for gay men, 63% felt they were more part of a community, 51% felt more positive about the future, 53% felt less isolated, 46% have enjoyed 'giving something back' to the group and 49% say they are fitter as a result of being a Member of OutdoorLads.
We also ask if Members would like to provide a short testimonial about what OutdoorLads has done for them. This extensive list is only a selection of the amazing things that our members have said over the years.
It's early days for me, having only been on 3 events since July and with 5 more booked in the next month or so, but OutdoorLads has been a blessing. Coming out later in life and without a gay friendship group has meant feeling lonely and isolated at times. Meeting and talking to such welcoming individuals has been wonderful and the walks have been great fun. I'm feeling happy and positive about life for the first time in ages, and really looking forward to many more ODL events. Thanks.
As a gay trans man, it's difficult to find outdoors or fitness events where I feel I belong, and I've avoided physical activity for a long time accordingly. OutdoorLads has opened doors for me and encouraged me to socialize again, greatly improving my mental and physical health. Thank you!
When I first joined the group I was dealing with bereavement and still trying to come to terms with my sexuality. I was a a very low point in my life. OutdoorLads has been a huge turning point in my life and I love everything about the group and I cannot thank everyone enough especially the leaders that go out of their way to make the events the success they are. I hope one day to shake hands with the guys that created this environment for us all to enjoy. I now have finally accept who I am and look forward to catching up with the friends I have made and meeting new people along the way.
Life has changed completely for me in the two years since I joined Outdoorlads. Before joining, I was very overweight, had few friendships with other gay and bisexual men and didn't feel part of that community at all. In the last two years, I've become fitter, challenged myself to do new things and lost weight which has increased my self confidence and wellbeing. In addition, I've met some fantastic people and developed some lifelong friendships which has enabled me to feel more positive and essentially part of a community of people who understand me and are comfortable with being their authentic selves. Outdoorlads has helped changed my life and I'm incredibly proud of the organisation and it's army of volunteers and positive role models who are truly inspirational.
OutdoorLads offers a refreshing alternative to gay men. Instead of spending times in bars or clubbing, you get to explore the UK and beyond whilst keeping fit and having fun. As with anything, you get out what you put in. Volunteering at my first event was a great way to get to know people. I have already made several good friends.
Discovering OutdoorLads was exactly what I was looking for. It has been a huge boost to me following a low period in my personal life and having become isolated from the London gay scene and the scene, both of which I have had an almost entirely negative experience with. Meeting people in ODL has reconnected me with a social scene of meeting all kinds of gay guys in a setting that suits me and boosted my social confidence. I love the day walks which has coindcided with and encouraged my interest in the outdoors and natural world and visiting so many new parts of the country has been very exciting to me. I'm fitter, have lost weight and feel more positive in myself and for the future. Being in OutdoorLads has been the main reason for this.
I've realised so much more of my potential, now having the confidence to go further, higher, and into wilderness than I'd ever imagined. What a joy it is too when I can introduce other guys to the same experiences. Their first wild camp, first Munro, first bothy.
After a half century in the closet, I started the coming out process by joining OutdoorLads. It was a gentle, welcoming and liberating introduction to the company of out gay men!
Outdoor Lads is a hugely important part of my life. It has transformed me and my view of the gay world, living as I do in the countryside. I love attending walks, prides socials etc. and seeing people who are going from strangers to acquaintances to friends.
Joining OutdoorLads has been one of the best decisions I've ever made. I know the strapline is 'Get Out More' but that's exactly what I've done in the past 15 months. I have met some fantastic people, taken part in new activities and visited some great places. I've always found everyone at ODL to be enthusiastic, professional and helpful and have already recommended the group to numerous friends.
- OutdoorLads has changed my life for the better. It's such a positive alternative to some of the negative aspects of gay life. I fill my weekends with walks and other activities and have made some really good genuine friendships from the group. I think OutdoorLads has helped save me, my liver and my mental health!
- It has been life-changing to participate in OutdoorLads activities, especially the London climbing and bouldering groups. Thanks to OutdoorLads, I have felt part of a group of supportive gay friends for the first time in my life. At the same time, climbing has become my passion, I have become fitter and healthier than I've ever been,
- I'm actually looking forward to the future for the first time in years and it's all thanks to you.
- I will be forever grateful to the group for improving my wellbeing.
- Being part of OutdoorLads is a truly life-enriching experience and makes me a much better, more rounded person.
- I was alone, isolated and depressed. OutdoorLads was for me literally a lifesaver - I found acceptance and friendship from the word go.
- Joining OutdoorLads is one of the best things I have done. As a leader it gives me a buzz to organise events and lead guys on some of my favourite walks.
- The joy of being out with a range of people, familiar and unfamiliar, united in their love of the outdoors and exercise, in fabulous countryside is bliss!
- I only have one openly gay friend in my hometown and very little social contact with other gay guys. Being able to go somewhere where I can meet other gay guys and have fun has been crucial to my happiness.
- I had very few gay friends before I joined OutdoorLads. I now have friends across the whole country.
- I took the plunge and went along to a London Saturday bouldering event - it was one of the greatest things I've ever done. The group have helped me to become comfortable with who I am as a gay man, make a mass of new friends and got me more active. Everyone I have met has been so welcoming and encouraging and I cannot recommend it enough as anyone who is looking to make new friends and try new things!
- Joining OutdoorLads is one of the best things I have ever done. I have made lots of new friends, met my partner, seen many beautiful places, tried new activities and grown in confidence. I would definitely recommend it!
- OutdoorLads gave me the opportunity to meet bright, friendly, like minded guys who I have developed friendships with- with the added bonus of being in nature and active. I cannot thank OutdoorLads staff and volunteers enough for their hard work. It is appreciated by so many of us. Thank you so much.
- OutdoorLads has greatly improved my life. I have struggled with depression and anxiety since my teens and always found social interactions to be a challenge as well as making friends. Before I had only one gay friend and like most turned to the like of grindr to meet other guys. I was told many times that i needed to go and meet real guys without the sex aspect. Last year i was diagnosed HIV positive and my life turned very dark. In fact last year i didn’t see any of my mates except the one, i just wanted to be alone. I made myself go to a social event in Cardiff where i was made to feel welcome and encouraged to attend some up coming events. Mark, Tom and Craig where great hosts. I have had such a great time and made some new friends and my confidence and self esteem have improved greatly. Some much so that I am told by my work colleagues that they have seen a great improvement in me from last year. I have had such a great time and been helped so much that I was only happy to step up to leader to give back to a brilliant cause.
- I have re-discovered my confidence, ability and belief in self to have a go and succeed trying in a fun, supportive and non-judgemental group of like-minded individuals.
- It's thanks to OutdoorLads that I'm more confident and looking to give more back to this fantastic organisation.
- Making great friends, feeling better about myself and my life, trying new activities, and having a whole heap of fun a long the way. I even found that I could be a boost to other guys in the same boat.. Who knew!?
- Joining OutdoorLads is the best thing I've ever done. Love my ODL family X
- OutdoorLads has not only enabled me do things that I already liked doing with new friends, it's opened up completely new activities that as a beginner I'd otherwise have felt intimidated to try.
- OutdoorLads has made my life 100% better. It has been the light that has guided me out of a tunnel of depression. I don't want to think where I'd be if I hadn't been brave enough to go on that first walk. Thank you to everyone in ODL
- OutdoorLads has helped me to meet a range of new friends in a healthy environment which is not focused all around drinking. It has helped me to grow and push myself out of my comfort zone, I would highly recommend to anyone who is wanting to meet new friends and build their confidence.
- There is zero attitude and I have yet to meet a person on a walk that I didn't like as an individual.
- The guys I've met have all been friendly and supportive, and I've made some lifelong friendships. I recommend OutdoorLads at every opportunity - there is no one that couldn't benefit from something the group has to offer.
- OutdoorLads has changed my life since I joined. As one of the younger members it was a big relief to be embraced by everyone within the organisation. I feel part of a huge supportive family and I am having the best years of my life within ODL.
- OutdoorLads challenges me, builds me up, gives me a sense of belonging, and gives me a community. It's been one of the most positive influences on my life.
- I struggle greatly with depression and have come very near to taking my life on a few occasions over the past 18 months. One of those times was just before Xmas, but I had signed up to the OutdoorLads family Xmas. The thought of having somewhere to go at Christmas where I would be fully accepted for who I am had a huge impact on me. I really don't think that I'd be here now if it weren't for that. It was a small glimmer of hope that kept me going. At the event Danny and Andy made me so welcome and it was so lovely that it really helped lift me emotionally a great deal. So I'd like to say a massive thank you to ODL.
- OutdoorLads has helped me have a life worth living. I have experienced terrible anxiety in the past mainly because I have had no social outlet and have been very lonely. My anxiety is near non existent now that OutdoorLads has given me opportunities to make new friends, get fitter and become more confident in myself. I can't thank OutdoorLads enough for helping me to become happier and healthier again.
- Being a member has enriched my life beyond belief.
- I love leading events, it gives me so much satisfaction to see people getting familiar with our hills and mountains, and then building up networks of friends and - in some cases - partners and even HUSBANDS
- I have no doubt that I'm physically fitter than I would otherwise be. I have no doubt that regular activity with OutdoorLads has fuelled my mental wellbeing.
- Having only been 'out' for 3 years, and struggling to make new friends, OutdoorLads has been a lifeline. Lovely people, always welcoming, and helps you feel you are not alone. A wonderful organisation.
- OutdoorLads gave me a purpose in life at a moment when I had none. It gave me an identity and sense of fulfilment I could not find elsewhere. It boosted my self confidence, gave me many friends, improved my fitness and enabled me to explore the UK's natural beauty.
- The greatest positive of being a member is the new friends I've made... and these are genuine friends not just people I know... the value of likeminded friends is invaluable. OutdoorLads has a far reaching positive impact.
- Most guys these days spend their time at home staring at screens. Gay pubs and bars are closing and it's harder to meet new friends. OutdoorLads is the solution.
- It is great to be a leader and able to give back to the group by welcoming new and old members and trying to give them a really good day out.
- There is no doubt that OutdoorLads has been a major factor in making many previously closeted gay men more at peace with themselves and has caused their lives to be enriched.
- Really friendly fun group of people. I always leave an event feeling happier and fulfilled
- I love OutdoorLads, it's a fantastic organisation to be a part of. I've made some fantastic friends these last 15 months and it's brought out an inner confidence in me.
- Through OutdoorLads I have developed a huge network of friends all around the country, found confidence in myself and met my partner. It's one of the biggest parts of my life and I feel humbled and privileged to serve as a leader.
- After 30 years battling with myself over my sexuality, when I eventually came out, the first group I joined was OutdoorLads. I really couldn't have made a better decision. On the first event, I was scared that I might meet socially and psychologically damaged gay men who would reinforce my fears about homosexuality. Instead, I met gay men from all walks of life, confident, world-wise and interesting men that I could trust and learn from. All events are well organised, with enough physical challenge to make you feel that you have really achieved something.
- It's a great way to meet other guys in a healthy non-drug/club way without any emphasis on sex but rather on shared experience.
- OutdoorLads has given me some great opportunities to meet people outside of the scene and all the pressures associated with it. I've made some true friends and it's given me a confidence in myself I never knew I had! It's a really great organisation and I'm so thankful it's there for me and people like me
- The stereotypical gay nightlife and clubbing scene does not interest me so it was great to find OutdoorLads and meet guys with similar interests. I feel a lot happier now because I have made many new friends.
- OutdoorLads has given me a real alternative to Gay pubs and Clubs with a real alternative way to meeting people from all different walks of life. On every trip I've come home with a buzz and feeling great.
- I have met some lifelong friends and I have laughed so hard I have cried on numerous occasions. This organisation is incredible - it changes lives!
- I know it's corny but OutdoorLads has revolutionised my life. I've made lifelong friends, explored much of the U.K, laughed until it hurt and even met my BF!! OutdoorLads is amazing.
- This time 2 years ago I tried to end my life. I joined OutdoorLads 18 months ago and my life has totally changed. I have made lots of friends, done some amazing things, seen some amazing things. Long may it continue.
- I came on my first OutdoorLads event just over a year ago and haven't looked back! I've got well over 50 events under my belt (from hiking to climbing, hostelling to camping and more) and have made some of the beat friends I have ever had. I have now become a leader as I wanted to give something back to the group and really enjoy planning and leading events. OutdoorLads is an amazing group and I can't now imagine it not being a part of my life!
- Joining OutdoorLads was one of the first things I did after coming out relatively late, aged 51. I have met some fabulous new people and done some amazing new things with OutdoorLads and am looking forward to even more fun with them in the future.
- I have only been a member for a month, but my mental wellbeing and fitness have vastly improved and I have the confidence to try new things I never would have thought about trying before. Everyone was really friendly and welcoming. I felt immediately at ease and was enjoying myself straight away.
- As a man who came out relatively late in life is was refreshing to see such a broad band of men from many different backgrounds... some other sites can leave you feeling you have nothing in common. Was really nice to meet interesting 'normal' men. It helped me be more comfortable with who I am and showed me some really positive examples.
- Joining OutdoorLads has been the best decision I've made, I met some amazing people who have become great friends and who have been really supportive and helped me out. It's made me believe in myself a lot more and spurred me on to make some big changes in my life, I'm far more positive and can't believe how much has changed in such a short time and it all stems from having joined OutdoorLads.
- I always found it difficult to form genuine friendships and associations with meeting guys in clubs and pubs. OutdoorLads provides a more relaxed and less 'hot house' arena to meet like minded guys and I've made good friends and feel less isolated since I joined. One of the best things I've done!
- I wish I had joined sooner! OutdoorLads has changed my life, yes that's a very bold statement to say, but I mean it, life changing. I've gone from very quiet, wouldn't say boo to a goose, to ‘for god sake do you ever shut up’. Not only has OutdoorLads given me confidence, but I now eventually, have an amazing group of friends! You saved me! Thank you.
- OutdoorLads has without doubt changed my life in so many ways and is the best thing I've ever done. Since joining, I've got fitter, achieved things I always told myself I couldn't do and gained some fantastic friends and rediscovered my self esteem in the process. Life now feels much more positive and the OutdoorLads community has given me so much in such a short space of time. I already feel I owe them a lot for helping me be me by getting out more.
- At the age of 38, OutdoorLads helped me to come out. Looking back less than a year later, I can't for the life of me understand what took me so long. But I hadn't decided for sure that I was going to come out, and the Members that I met on those first few walks were a huge influence on me, without ever even knowing it. The warmth and friendliness of the group, the shared activities and the support has made me realise that life is so much better out, than in! I am so much more positive about absolutely everything in life now, so much happier, and I can honestly tell you that this wouldn't have happened without ODL. My best mates wife brought this home when I came out to her: the first question was "Great, thanks for telling me, but what now? How are you going to make friends in the gay community and get on with that part of life?" I fortunately had a simple answer: OutdoorLads. Thanks lads, for everything!
- There IS a gay life outside of the scene and apps!