“I just believe that with the skills that I’m learning, and the techniques that I’m learning, I’ll be able to benefit myself [and] my own personal desire to go out… and feel safer and more empowered… to explore.” – Cheryl Baker, Outdoor Afro Leader
The Outdoor Afro Paddle Camp prepares volunteers to become certified canoeing and kayaking instructors. It’s led by NRS ambassador, accredited paddling instructor, and outdoor school leader Todd Johnstone-Wright. Paddle Camp is just one of many professional development experiences Outdoor Afro offers its now 117 volunteers to develop and expand their leadership and outdoor safety acumen within the industry.
At Outdoor Afro, we work to create that space where folks know that they belong, where people can see themselves represented, and we work to reduce some of those barriers in accessing the outdoors for Black people.” – Chaya Harris, National Program Director
For 2022, camp engagement doubled from 10 Outdoor Afro volunteer leaders in 2021 to 20 volunteers wanting to learn boating skills that will help them better navigate and explore local waters. The seven-day summer experience will include 10 canoers and 10 kayakers taking in-class and lakeside courses at St. Michael’s College outside of Burlington. Each volunteer will take away invaluable training, earning a Level I or Level II kayaking or canoeing certification through the American Canoe Association.
Once the camp completes, volunteer leaders are expected to host at least three post-camp activities in their respective communities across the United States.