Learning how to Thrive Together

When you walk through the front doors at Thrive — located on East Omaha in Rapid City within the Love Inc. building — you’ll walk into an outdoor enthusiast’s wonderland. From name brand attire like Patagonia and North Face to camping, hiking, and general outdoor gear, Thrive feels like a typical adventure store. However, there is more to the mission of this Love Inc. branch than what meets the eye.

For years, Love Inc. has been helping churches across the Black Hills connect with the community through outreach. In December of 2020, they launched a new initiative — Thrive, an outdoor adventure resale store where youth can discover the joys of hard work in a safe, supportive environment.

“We want to give these kids a sense of community while they are learning productive, meaningful life skills,” explains Kyle Skipton, Love Inc.’s Thrive Director. “The goal is to help the youth in the Black Hills be prepared and help them feel confident as they get ready to enter the workforce.”

Once donated gear is repaired, it’s sold at the Thrive storefront on Omaha Street in Rapid City.

The unique outreach program began as a simple initiative to provide bikes to children across Rapid City. Used bikes would be sent to the nonprofit and volunteers would take time to fix them up for families for a reduced cost. With a core group of passionate adults, the youth bike program evolved into having kids help restore bikes for other kids.

Now, with the help of the retail side of Thrive, the program is on the way to reaching its full potential; all while giving back in the process of fixing bikes.

“No one has to be an expert to be a part of the work here,” smiled Kyle, who is learning to fix bikes alongside the kids himself. “We are simply giving Rapid City youth a safe place to explore what skills they have and can utilize for the future.”

There are many facets to a retail store, and children who sign up to be a part of Thrive’s outreach are able to choose where they think they would best fit. From social media and website management, marketing and public outreach, or customer service and retail management — Thrive is providing insight to what running a business is truly like.

Volunteers and Rapid City youth work side-by-side to repair outdoor equipment and learn valuable skills. The bike repair ministry at Thrive is one of their most popular programs.

“Parents call in to get their kids involved, and we get them plugged into where they will enjoy what they are doing,” explained Kyle. “This is a space where they can come get away from screens and homework and connect with people they may not have had the opportunity to before.”

It has only been a few months since the store has opened, but the success they are seeing with support from the Black Hills community is second-to-none. Thrive is continuously stocked with upscale outdoor items, and bikes are getting fixed by the dozen each week. The production may seem like a typical retail store, but the work behind the scenes giving youth an opportunity to become confident contributors to the future workforce is something far greater than that.

Thrive is located at 414 E. Omaha Street in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Hours of Operation: Wed. – Fri. 10 AM – 6 PM / Sat. 9 AM – 1 PM

For more information on donating, volunteering, or getting your child involved visit www.thrivebh.org, their facebook page, or give them a call at (605) 593-0088.

WORDS: JENNA CARDA
PHOTOS: JESSE BROWN NELSON