Nonprofit wants to help more minorities enjoy the great outdoors

Group says your background doesn’t have to dictate your surroundings
Posted at 3:15 PM, Sep 23, 2020

Some say there’s a problem with the old proverb that if you give a man fish, you feed him for day, but if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.

Some argue that in order to complete a task, or learn a life lesson, people need access to the right equipment and education from someone with the right experience.

“We didn’t get an opportunity like this,” said Hanifah Chiku while practicing flyfishing with her 6-year-old grandson Kamal during an event hosted by Colorado Blackpackers, a nonprofit on a mission to provide free gear, outdoor excursions and education to ethnic minorities.

“We meet those who are at the intersection of economic vulnerability and under-representation,” said Patricia Cameron, founder of Colorado Blackpackers, a group she started a few years ago with the hopes of expanding to other states.

“The opportunity to provide more outdoor experiences for people of color across the country, absolutely,” Cameron said.

During the flyfishing clinic, Chiku said her grandson is learning great lessons while enjoying the great outdoors

“They afford the opportunities to give people this experience and to come out and participate in different venues,” she said.

Helping people learn how to properly set up a reel and rod are volunteers like Eeland Stribling, who says these events give people of color unique opportunities.

“I feel a lot more community when I see people who kind of look like me,” he said.

The classes and gear are free, with people like Kyle Fulmer donating outdoor supplies from his company RovR Products.

“We want people, it doesn’t matter where you’re from, to be able to have the same access and opportunity in the outdoors,” he said.

Cameron says Blackpackers is helping people learn life lessons while creating their own proverbs.

“My tag line is: economic equity and outdoor recreation,” she said.