Supporting Diversity in the Outdoors

Photo: Getty Images

These last few weeks have been a time of learning and reflection for us. We have been listening to the voices of the BIPOC communities. Learning where we can do better. Be better. We’d like to highlight some of the groups that help empower people of color in outdoor recreation that empower people of color in outdoor recreation. We’ve put together a list of a few of our favorites.

MELANIN BASECAMP

Photo: Melanin Basecamp

Established in 2017, Melanin Basecamp is dedicated to increasing the visibility of black, indigenous, and people of color and to increase their representation in the media, advertising, and in the stories about the outdoors. They publish content written by BIPOC folks that will inspire anyone to get outside, as well as supporting the LGBTQ+ community. 

They also recently re-shared their Guide to Outdoor Allyship, originally published in 2019. This is an excellent resource to help you address your privilege and gives you tools on how to be the best ally you can be!

Follow them on Instagram: @melaninbasecamp 

Use their hashtag: #diversifyoutdoors

OUTDOOR AFRO

Photo: Outdoor Afro

Where black people and nature meet! For over ten years, Outdoor Afro has been empowering black folks to become environmental advocates and support increased diverse participation and executive leadership in the Outdoor Recreation Economy. They also partner with other outdoor businesses and nonprofits to aid in their goals of combating climate change and lowering barriers to outdoor recreation for underserved communities. You can learn more about their work here

Outdoor Afro has nearly 80 leaders in 30 states that connect thousands of people to outdoor experiences, and are changing the face of conservation. Their unrelenting commitment to conserving our public lands and wild spaces and encouraging black folks to take a stand in this work is inspiring and we have a lot to learn from them!

Follow them on Instagram: @outdoorafro

Use their hashtag: #outdoorafro

UNLIKELY HIKERS

Photo: Unlikely Hikers

Founded by Jenny Bruso, Unlikely Hikers is a social media community dedicated to representing the underrepresented in the outdoor industry:

“We are people of size, people of color, queer, trans and gender-nonconforming. We are people with disabilities and people who utilize the outdoors to aid our mental health. We talk about access, politics and conservation while we honor the land and its Indigenous stewards.”

Unlikely Hikers elevates and tells the stories of all the above-mentioned folks, and we love it! They also host events all over the country (including Vermont!) to bring folks on accessible, safe space hikes! No events nearby? Check out Jenny’s new podcast to stay up to date on all news in diversity, community, anti-racism, and body liberation in the outdoor community.

Follow them on Instagram: @unlikelyhikers

Use their hashtags: #unlikelyhikers

BROWN GIRLS CLIMB

Photo: Janelle Paciencia

Brown Girls Climb has the mission to promote and increase the visibility of diversity in climbing by establishing a community of climbers of color, encouraging leadership opportunities for self-identified women climbers of color, and by creating inclusive opportunities to climb and explore for underrepresented communities. From events to consulting, they have been instrumental in increasing participation in climbing amongst women of color since 2016.

BGC now has six chapters around the country and is still growing. Women can find new climbing partners, make new friends, and support each other by joining the organization. You can become a member of your local chapter here!

BGS has also been releasing great resources for white climbers over the last few days on their social media. Read their Resource For White Climbers here

Follow them on Instagram: @browngirlsclimb

Use their hashtag: #browngirlsclimb

NATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF SKIERS

Photo: Chip Kalbak

The National Brotherhood of Skiers has been around since the 1970’s, bringing BIPOC folks together on the slopes. Their mission is to identify, develop and support athletes of color who will win Olympic winter sports competitions, and to increase participation in winter sports. They now have 53 clubs around the country that provide education and opportunities to increase participation in snowsports. 

The NBS hosts the largest gathering of black skiers in the US each year! Their youth programs offer trips to ski areas and introduce them to winter sports in a structured environment on and off the slopes. You can learn more about their efforts here, or by watching the recent film by Wild Confluence called Brotherhood of Skiing

WHAT CAN WE DO

‘The outdoor industry and outdoors social media tend to display a very narrow definition of who is “outdoorsy” that isn’t representative of most of us.’ – Jenny Bruso

We as a business and community recognize that we have a LOT of work to do to improve allyship, to better represent BIPOC folks, to improve diversity within our industry. We plan to implement the following as first steps:

  • Using Charitable Grant Fund dollars to support groups focused on diversity with the goal to get kids outside to build appreciation for outdoor recreation.
  • Find meaningful national nonprofits to support the Black Lives Matter mission.
  • Build internal mentorship programs to help bring additional diversity throughout our organization.
  • Build an advisory group within the business to ensure that members of underrepresented communities within our organization have a voice in the forward planning of the business.

Stay tuned as we continue to learn, listen, and develop a plan for us to contribute in meaningful ways to the inclusion of members of the BIPOC community into the outdoors. Please feel free to pass along any ideas or resources you think may help us accomplish this goal. It’s nonprofits like these that educate us, that inspire us to do better. Be better. We hope they do the same for you too!

 

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Published:June 12, 2020

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