Season Kirkwood has two simple loves in life: being in the great outdoors and sharing knowledge, experience and joy for being outside with people of all ages. Building shelters and fires, snowshoeing, fireside cooking, bushcraft, wood and snow sculpting and archery are some of Season’s passions.
Season has channeled those passions into SAYZOONS, a business meant to show people how to spend time outdoors through day camps, equipment rentals, and outdoor tourism activities like river tubing. She says that the business’s most popular offerings to date have been all-inclusive tourism-based events for households where they set up the games and activities at unique spaces and let families enjoy themselves.
A partnership with Season’s sister, Charlene Kakish, SAYZOONS is based on a simple concept: Have fun! “SAYZOONS wants to be your guide and get you going on your next adventure,” Season says “Paddle, bike, snowshoe, or register for any of our pop-up experiences year-round.”
A proud Métis, Season came up with the business’s name by making a play on words. “My name is Season, and I run a year-round seasonal company, so I thought it would be fun to use Michif language. So, SAYZOONS. We capitalized it so it’s like a wild cheer!”
Although the pandemic has been a challenge, Season says that it actually helped them to expand their business model. With significant restrictions in place on indoor activities, people were forced to turn to outdoor recreation if they wanted to stay active. This led many to look for new outdoor experiences, and SAYZOONS’ snowshoes, kayaks, canoes, archery gear, bikes, and the mobile Rec wagon were just what they needed to scratch that itch.
“SAYZOONS started as a business to show people how to spend time outdoors, and now people are doing it,” Season says. “So, we feel the pandemic has created a new client base for us. We want participants to find their connection in the world and to each other in every season.”
Season was helped in adapting to the pandemic by accessing support through several Community Futures programs, such as support through the Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program and Mashup Labs to develop business skills and a separate support to help develop the online marketing that was needed to reach customers during COVID-19 restrictions. SAYZOONS was also the proud recipient of second prize in the Rural category of the Indigenous Business Development Services Program’s Dragon’s Quest Business Planning Competition. Season is now working with Community Futures Triple R on a project to promote tourism in the region.
SAYZOONS is not content with being an outdoor life coach to its base community of St-Pierre-Jolys. Season is hoping to offer a virtual training and mentoring program to help others make a difference in their communities by offering experiential tourism development, outdoor programming and eco tours that can serve to fill recreation/tourism gaps in their community.
Driven by the boundless energy of its founder, SAYZOONS is spreading a love of the outdoors and staying active throughout southeastern Manitoba.