A Proposal (For Those Who Want to Play/Love/BE Outside)

Hoh Rainforest - January 2015.  Photo by Laura D.


Have you ever wanted to attend an outdoor activity or class but didn't?  Perhaps it was for one or more of any of the following reasons: 

1. You don't know anyone else who will be there - and it's scary to show up to stuff like this alone.

2. You can't afford it.

2a. You're afraid if you show up, people will assume you're there on a scholarship, or through a "program." 

3. You feel like you wouldn't be able to keep up/do what others are doing physically.

4. No one there will look like you (i.e. you'll be the only brown person there).

4a. No one in the field/industry/activity looks like you, leaving it hard for you to see yourself in that space/role/activity.  

5. You want to bring your same sex partner, but are afraid people will judge you, not talk to you, or even worse.

6. You want to bring your partner, and you're in an interracial relationship, and aren't sure how other people will react.  You've had experiences in the past that lead you to think this.

6a. "No, my partner is not my mother, mentor, big sister, or hanging out with me as part of a program. "

7. When you've gone to things like this before, you've been grilled about how you heard about it, or automatically associated with the other person who looks like you.

7a. A few weeks ago, I went to a dryland ski thing and was assumed to be the kid of one of the other participants.  Sorry sir ... the other participant's (my friend) child is half Pakistani, not Indian, AND his kid is a dude.  But it's easy to make that assumption since me and my friend's wife were the only POC in the group of 40+ people.  

8. You don't have the equipment or proper clothing needed.

8a. The equipment or clothing you need for the activity doesn't come in your size.

9. You have kids, and it's a kid free event.

10. You don't have kids, but it's a "family" event.

11. You think you're too old, too young, or for some other reason don't belong.

12. Any other number of reasons....

(please note that ALL of the above things have happened in my life at one time or another - except #8a and #9 I think). 


I want to start a club or a group, where people can spend time outside regardless of their income, ability, relationship status or orientation, skin color, income, etc.  That said, what I don't want is for this club or group to be driven by middle class white folks - which in Minnesota, is what the majority of outdoor clubs are made of/for and led by.  (Note - there is Outdoor Afro - for Black Folks who appreciate the outdoors, but I'm not Black, so I don't feel like that's the right club for me).  

For now, I am happy to lead this unnamed group.  A group where folks feel safe and welcomed to come exactly as they are.  I will help with getting supplies/equipment/clothing.  I will help make sure people feel included, able to go at their own pace, and able to just chill or stop when they are ready.  I can even help coordinate a badass potluck afterwards.  All I need is a few folks (or more!) who are interested in spending some time outside and want to do so in a space that is whatever we make of it! 

Activities could include but are not limited to: Walking, hiking, XC skiing, sledding, potlucking, mountain biking, road biking, ice skating, snowshoeing, camping, canoeing, and more!  

So, think about what you're interested in, and let me know!  It would be open to everyone - I'll figure out equipment/funding, and it will be a safe space for people who aren't safe, welcome, or represented in other spaces.


Jordan Pond - Acadia National Park.  November 2015.  (Photo by Laura D.)