What started as a kitchen table blog by Founder and CEO Rue Mapp in 2009 is now the nation’s leading organization that celebrates and inspires Black connections and leadership in nature. Now in its 13th year, Outdoor Afro is a not-for-profit organization of a 60,000-strong participation network, 1,200-plus events, and over 100 selected and trained volunteer leaders across 60 cities in 32 states.
Outdoor Afro reconnects Black people with nature through outdoor education, recreation, and conservation in year-round activities; including fishing, hiking, biking, kayaking, gardening, skiing and more. To create these intergenerational experiences, Outdoor Afro trains a select group of applicants each year to participate in its annual training. The Outdoor Afro Leadership Training (OALT) equips volunteer leaders with the essential tools to guide local communities in nature safely and sustainably.
Throughout the years, Big Agnes has supported Outdoor Afro’s leaders by providing gear and equipment for OALT, along with industry insights and best practices to outdoor camping. The partnership started nearly a decade ago at Outdoor Retailer’s popular trade show – a national event Mapp attends annually.
The goal: to build meaningful relationships with outdoor brands, and share with brands the generational barriers Black people and Black communities often face in the outdoor industry. One of Big Agnes’ and Outdoor Afro’s most memorable partnership experiences happened in 2019 at American Whitewater Expeditions in California. Big Agnes helped outfit Outdoor Afro volunteer leaders and community participants with camping gear and equipment for a whitewater rafting weekend event.
“That outdoor experience was one of the best nights of camp sleep I’ve ever had,” said Outdoor Afro Founder and CEO Rue Mapp. “I was so happy to have such great support.”
You can be part of Outdoor Afro in various ways. Connect on social media to keep up with all the Black Joy shared, join an event around the country, become an esteemed partners, or become a volunteer leader. Remember, you don’t have to have an Afro to join the efforts.