Spotlight: Fresh Tracks


There are a lot of ways to think about health. Sometimes it’s about care and cures. And sometimes it’s simply about giving young leaders a chance to reimagine their own potential. We saw this up close when we first partnered with Fresh Tracks, a new program that brings together participants from urban, rural, and indigenous communities for training expeditions that unlock the power of the outdoors to unite and inspire.  

Finding an Identity

For Spitball, Fresh Tracks presented an exciting challenge: build a brand identity - complete with name, logo, and narrative, all from scratch. And we had do it fast. Fresh Tracks, barely a twinkle in the eye in January 2016, began fundraising that month, recruiting in April, and was formally launched at an event in Compton, California in early May.  Two years later, Fresh Tracks has taken young leaders on expeditions to Southern California, the Arctic Circle, Washington D.C., and West Virginia, raised multiple rounds of funding, and opened doors for alumni to the White House and the Aspen Institute. Fresh Tracks is now a program of the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute. 

Bringing a Brand to Life

After an initial communications effort helped win over major funders and the Obama Administration, Spitball worked with KAST Design Company to build a brand foundation anchored by a logo that would resonate with corporate and foundation partners, the White House, and - most importantly - the youth participants. Bottom line, it had to look on a hat. 


Finding the Heart of a Program

How does a new program with no track record sizzle in a crowded space? Rule number one. Don’t be the hero of your own story. Spitball helped Fresh Tracks build a narrative that belonged to the young adults from Compton and rural Alaska who gave the program its true heart. We went all in on that strategy, letting the participants speak for themselves across social media, press, marketing materials, and photography.  Check out this one-sheet and Tumblr for just two examples.

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Digital Media

The Fresh Tracks digital media strategy followed a few golden rules too.

Well-paced, human-centered, content-rich storytelling on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram invited the world along on  the journey. Social media posts highlighted the impact on people and communities, underscored mission alignment with strategic partners like REI, the City of Compton, and the Obama Administration, and reinforced the power of the outdoors to unite and ignite young leaders. Here are a few of our favorite posts. Or check out the Storify




Spitball teamed up with filmmaker Rene von Saint-George to create the film that would make Fresh Tracks immortal. Blessed with shining stars and heartstopping locations, we collaborated on a short documentary that condensed two life-changing weeks into a seven minute saga set in Seattle, Southern California, and rural Alaska. Watch it here.