Bringing the Great Outdoors to More Black Americans
Back in 2015, Earl B. Hunter was the VP of Sales for SylvanSport, when he decided that, as a professional in one of the world’s most innovative outdoor industry companies, it was high time he took himself to the great outdoors to really embrace it.
He decided to take a three-month long trip across the United States and Canada with his son, Dillon. They traveled through 20 states and provinces, stayed at 49 different campsites, and came across dozens of families. But there was a common factor among those families – in the entire journey, they only came across only one other Black family.
So Earl decided it was time to bring the joys of camping and outdoors to more people of color.
Adventuring into Inclusivity with Mountain BizWorks
After returning from his trip with his son, Earl recognized the importance in sharing his experiences and enjoyment of camping with his own network of friends and followers. But it wasn’t enough to just share his experiences and work to influence others to take their own similar journeys. Not to mention, there were already other nonprofits aimed at getting more people of color outdoors. Earl decided to take a different approach.
In 2019, Earl received seed funding from Mountain BizWorks to help grow the company to truly take Black Folks Camp Too in a direction that would be effective and impactful. Through his team’s hard work and a little support from Mountain BizWorks, he was able to turn it into a marketing-driven business focused on building partnerships with outdoor recreation brands and companies in an effort to tap into an underutilized market – Black folks.
Making Strides in the Outdoor Industry
As a marketing and consulting firm, Black Folks Camp Too currently works with outdoor businesses, state agencies, and recreation brands and companies to generate materials and develop marketing campaigns that bring education, inspiration, comfort, and enthusiasm about the outdoors to people of color.
“We bridge the gap between black folks, people of color, and the outdoors. Our job is to help remove fear, bring knowledge, and invite more people of color to the outdoor space. We’re doing it with our DEI- Digital Education Initiative…and our Unity Blaze initiative,” Earl Hunter states.
In addition to providing resources, recommendations, tips and more regarding the outdoors and camping, the company is also working to develop partnerships across the country that work to create a safe, inviting space for people of color.
The Future of Black Folks Camp Too
Since getting off the ground in 2019, Earl has expanded his team, increased initiatives, and already started seeing the impact of his efforts to get more people of color camping and in the outdoors.
But, unlike most businesses, he doesn’t see the business as ever-expanding: “My goal is to make this company unnecessary. I hope that in ten years, we won’t need to exist,” he said in an interview. Black Folks Camp Too looks to inspire change in an industry that needs changing, and hopefully, that change becomes a permanent fixture.