From making trips to Washington D.C. to provide input on initiatives ranging from Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign to providing ideas to the Department of Interior on ways to engage African American families in outdoor recreation, Rue Mapp, Outdoor Afro Founder and CEO, realized, “I can’t do all of this myself,” and sought out more leaders to work along side her to engage more African Americans with the outdoors.
Over the past four months, she recruited thirteen Outdoor Afro volunteers (“disciples” she likens them to), who share her passion for nature and connecting more people to it. But these folks are not just advocates. They will organize outdoor activities across the country, from day hikes to overnight camping trips.
The Outdoor Afro Leadership Team (OALT) will organize trips on a quarterly basis, but Rue is prepared for the effort to grow beyond that.
Leveraging the Outdoor Afro social media community to recruit volunteers, she said, “I feel blessed to have found a group of like-minded people who can help literally move African Americans into the outdoors in greater numbers than I could alone.” The team represents a wonderfully diverse group from around the country, with a range of interests and expertise.
Introducing the Outdoor Afro Leadership Team!
- Alisha Pye, a Los Angeles, CA Pilates instructor and mother of two.
- Beky Branagan of North Carolina has an M.S. in Recreation Administration and served as a medic in the US Army Reserve. She volunteers as an Outdoor Skills Facilitator; teaching Girl Scout Leaders about how to take their troops camping.
- Charles Yellowday, a Bronx, NY based social services professional.
- Cliff Sorrell, a SF Bay Area based landscape architect, assistant Scout Master and Cub Scout leader.
- Danielle Lee, a St. Louis, MO scientist and blogger specializing in mammalogy, ecology and animal behavior.
- Karen Bayard, a Salt Lake City, Utah-based college professor and community health educator.
- Karla Frye, a Jefferson City, MO resident who works as manager of urban initiatives for Missouri State Parks. Frye has previously worked as a journalist, a research analyst, and public relations consultant and university professor.
- Melissa Danielle, a New York City resident who promotes healthy lifestyles and wellness through her work as director of Central Brooklyn Wellness.
- Nkrumah Frazier, a Southern Mississippi Biology research technician at the University Of Southern MS and Hattiesburg Green Living Examiner and focused on the latest science and environmental research.
- Reginald Mitchell of Atlanta, GA is an outdoor enthusiast and hike leader for We Love to Hike.
- Sherrita Cole, of Oakland, CA, mom of a toddler, property manager, and hair care blogger
- Viva Yeboah, of Chicago IL, recently embraced outdoor connections through her participation with Girl Trek
- Zoe Polk, a San Francisco, CA resident and human rights attorney.
All regional leaders will be organizing day hikes, casual recreation, camping trips, bicycle rides and other activities on a quarterly basis and in their local regions.
Schedules of upcoming outings will be posted on Outdoor Afro as they become available, and check out the newly-launched Meet-Up groups as well:
Outdoor Afro thanks REI, the national outdoor retail cooperative, KEEN Shoes, and Camp-California who are sponsoring the OALT with gear and practical support to inform trip ideas and support our success!