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Hey, New Yorkers! Check Out The Black Outdoor Adventurers

Black Outdoor Adventurers founder Mina Okpi (Photo: LinkedIn)

Meet the BOA– Black Outdoor Adventurers.

It is an outdoor adventure social enterprise focused on the health and wellness of people of color mainly between the ages 27-42 that live and work throughout the New York Tri-State and Northeast region.

Founded by Mina Okpi in 2015, Black Outdoor Adventurers works to eliminate the lack of outdoor participation through our dynamic programming and by making outdoor activities more visible and accessible to Black and Brown people.

Here’s is a Q&A with Okpi.

New York Trend (NYT): Can you give us a sense of the magnitude of Black Outdoor Adventurers’ membership/community?

Mina Okpi (MO): Black Outdoor Adventurers is a community of approximately 7000 individuals across our various social platforms and email. For 2021 and beyond we project we’ll curate a portfolio of 100 or more adventures and experiences.

BOA believes in focusing on quality connections, conversations, and experiences over quantity. For our adventures, we have on average 10 to 15 eager adventurers, while our social events see on average 20 to 30 attendees.

“We took the road less traveled and decided to build access and bring our community along for the journey. No one gets left behind!”

NYT: What is the price point for your events?

MO: Our events can range from $140 for an all-inclusive hike or day event with transportation, and occasionally breakfast and lunch to $2,000 for overnight excursions or travel-based adventures some of which we’ll be launching in 2021.

NYT: How often do you have people come back for return events?

MO: Our goal at BOA is community first, therefore unlike traditional operators, we consider all who come through our doors as friends and family who we try to bring into the BOA squad/fold. Because our main goal is uniquely to build up the Black community first, I’d say approximately 40 percent of our customers end up being return clients and locals.

NYT: What types of events you do?

MO: Our events run the gamut from day events such as hikes, white water rafting, horseback riding, surfing, skiing, outdoor rock climbing, apple Picking, wine tasting tours, whiskey tasting tours, jet skiing, kayaking, adventure courses, mountain biking, Stand up paddleboarding and more. We also have our overnight and multi-day events which include camping, cabins or rented homes and programming such as ski getaways, hiking, swimming/relaxing in a lake, canoeing, more rock climbing, yoga, speakers, arts and crafts, quiet periods and more of our day activities thrown in. Some new activities we’ll be debuting include Waterfall rappelling, Ice climbing, new hikes, exploring waterfalls and swimming holes, canyoning, and much more.

Lastly, we hold social events each month on average to reconnect adventurers so that we can all re-live and talk about our mutual adventures, any new adventures we’ve been up to, and catch up on life and build on those friendships.

NYT: What is the general demographic of your participants and how is that different from other organizations seeking to improve diversity in the outdoors?

MO: BOA’s demographic tends to be Black and brown men/women/ young professionals between 24 and 44 years.

I applaud all organizations seeking to improve diversity in this space. Some aspects that make us who we are is that we’re for-profit, because I believe in entrepreneurship and that Black and brown people have spending and therefore decision-making power in this space. We also care about creating a community and family first and not just carrying busloads of strangers for profit. We care about you, your story, your generational impact, and your potential just as much as we care about your ability to climb a rock face. We don’t see nature as something to be conquered but a place to explore your potential.

Also, it’s important to reach the kids, but equally if not more important to reach the young professionals and the rest of the population, especially if we want to start creating that generational change right now. Young professionals have a unique positioning in that they are better placed to influence both the younger and older generations of their household/families or new families to begin to see the outdoors and adventure as a normal part of their lives.

This is exactly what we want and take pride in. While it’s not easy to create and now run a for-profit adventure company with all it’s moving parts, I felt I had no choice. The alternative was just to be a social influencer adventurer and only share my life in aspirational photos with black and brown people on their couches. Instead, we took the road less traveled and decided to build access and bring our community along for the journey. No one gets left behind!

About the Author

Ann is a freelance writer who started her professional career at the NY Trend more than two decades ago. Ann has since gone on to write for a number of major outlets including: Black Enterprise, Essence, MadameNoire, Pathfinders, Frequent Flier, Playboy, The Source, Girl, Upscale, For Harriet, The Network Journal, AFKInsider, Africa Strictly Business, AFKTravel, among others.

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