In a move towards increasing Unity and inclusion in the outdoor community and beyond, New River Conservancy and Black Folks Camp Too are excited to announce their partnership through Black Folks Camp Too’s industry-changing Unity Blaze Certification Program.
New River Conservancy has partnered with Black Folks Camp Too to promote diverse outdoor experiences, amplify our shared mission, and improve our collective Return On Inclusion in the Outdoor community.
Black Folks Camp Too’s foundational mission to Invite and Welcome “more Black folks to camp and experience the Outdoor lifestyle with ANY and EVERYONE” while increasing Unity in the Outdoor Community and Beyond aligns seamlessly with New River Conservancy, a non-profit organization whose mission it is to “protect the waters, woodlands and wildlife of the New River Watershed.” At New River Conservancy we are committed to creating a more inclusive outdoor community where every individual feels valued, heard, and empowered to embrace and protect nature.
Elizabeth Underwood, Executive Director of NRC, says “We never see the New as just a river. It is the waters and everything within and along them. The woodlands, the wildlife, our life. This ancient, 360-mile waterway connects us through North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia, and while our mission was written to include all life within the watershed, we have recognized a distinct lack of diversity at our events and in our member rolls. Meeting Earl Hunter at our Symposium in 2022, and subsequently taking the Unity Blaze course, helps us understand the reason why that is. We are proud to partner with Black Folks Camp Too so we can extend an intentional invitation to welcome Black families to join us in our mission. Our entire team, spanning all three states, is committed to offering safe, comfortable spaces to recreate in and protect the outdoors, where everyone, everywhere, is treated equally.”
Earl B. Hunter, Jr, Founder and President of Black Folks Camp Too, and Keynote speaker at the New River 2022 Symposium, says: “The real power of Unity Blaze Certification is educating the Outdoor Industry and Lifestylers on the WHY! In addition, we have positioned our Unity Blaze to be the symbol to Invite and Welcome more folks to Outdoor Lifestyle. When folks of ALL races, ages and genders see the Unity Blaze symbol, they know they are Invited and Welcomed! New River Conservancy will now feature the Unity Blaze at their events, on their website and more.”
Earl Hunter and members of Black Folks Camp Too took a trip down the South Fork of the New River at New River State Park in Laurel Springs, NC last April. Take a look at the fun they had on YouTube.
Unity Blaze Certification
The Unity Blaze Certification is a comprehensive customer service course that illuminates “WHY” Black Folks Camp Too was created. WHY many Black folks have not entertained the outdoor lifestyle, and WHY it’s important to Invite and Welcome “more” Black folks and other folks to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle. All in all, the Unity Blaze Certification course was designed to “Increase Unity in the Outdoor Community and Beyond” while helping the Outdoor Industry increase revenue for years to come.
“More and More organizations are earning their Unity Blaze Certification and joining our Unity Blaze family! We believe organizations that take the necessary steps to understand cultural awareness about creating intentional welcoming space for campers of ALL experiences and backgrounds, will be more successful,” said Earl B. Hunter Jr., founder of Black Folks Camp Too.
The real power of Unity Blaze Certification lies in its symbolism. When folks of ALL races, ages, and genders see the Unity Blaze Symbol, they know they are invited and welcomed! To that end, New River Conservancy will feature the Unity Blaze Certification on their website and other marketing literature, and onsite at events.
The Unity Blaze training program is a comprehensive online curriculum that educates participants on how to create a more inclusive outdoor experience for all folks. The program covers a wide range of topics, including:
- The history of outdoor recreation and the barriers that have traditionally prevented many communities of color from participating.
- How to explore and identify assumptions regarding access to the outdoors and communities of color.
- How to create a more inviting and welcoming environment for all visitors.
- How to develop and implement programs and services that meet the needs of all
NRC Executive Director, Elizabeth Underwood, Black Folks Camp Too founder, Earl Hunter, and NRC Board past chair, Mike O’Connor at the 2022 New River Symposium at Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia.