New partnership with Black Folks Camp Too will help energize NC outdoors with greater diversity.
The NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources is partnering with Black Folks Camp Too to encourage participation and engagement with diverse communities through the department’s new Parks and Trails for Health (PATH) initiative. PATH combines physical activity in parks, greenways, and other outdoor spaces in North Carolina with educational opportunities.
Black Folks Camp Too is a marketing-driven business whose mission is to increase diversity in the outdoor industry by making it easier, more interesting and more fun for Black folks to go camping. BFCT helps to remove fears, add knowledge, and invite more Black families to build memories and strengthen family bonds by camping and spending time outdoors.
The business was founded in 2019 by Earl B. Hunter, Jr. As an executive in the RV/outdoor industry, Hunter was constantly reminded about the need for greater unity across our nation’s great state and local parks, campgrounds, waterways, and trails. What stood out more than anything to Hunter was a massive, missed opportunity for Black Folks AND outdoor brands.
The Outdoor Industry ROI—Return on Inclusion
“It’s just a fact—Black Folks are not enjoying the life-giving beneﬁts of spending time outside in nature,” stated Hunter. “And outdoor brands have not found a successful way to engage with this valuable consumer. Yes, removing fear is part of the answer, but so is oﬀering knowledge and simply extending more invitations. This is why we are so pumped to be partnering with the state of North Carolina’s DNCR PATH initiative.”
Positive changes are slowly beginning to take place in the outdoor industry. According to the 2019 North American Camping Report from Kampgrounds of America (KOA), the percentage of new campers from multicultural groups (51%) outpaced the percentage of White campers (49%).
The 2018 North American Camping Report from KOA shows that the percentage of American campers who are Black rose from 6% to 8% between 2012 and 2017. The report also found that 14% of new campers in 2017 were Black, and 34% of nonwhite millennials said they began camping in the past few years, compared to 18% of White millennials. Campers under age 25 are the most ethnically diverse, according to the report.
Visit www.ncdcr.gov/PATH to learn more about PATH and to ﬁnd links to suggested activities at state parks, historic sites, and museums.
About Black Folks Camp Too
In 2015, Earl embarked on a road trip around North America with his seven-year-old son, Dillon. Along their three-month journey, they explored the highlights of the continental US and Canada and visited 49 campgrounds.
The journey was as eye-opening as it was adventurous—they saw only one other Black family during the entire trip. That disparity and the desire to share the camping experience and outdoor lifestyle with other Black families drove Earl to found Black Folks Camp Too with a drive to remove fears, add knowledge, and invite Black Folks to camp with any and everybody.
Follow @blackfolkscamptoo and learn more at www.blackfolkscamptoo.com.