As Outdoor Afro has grown, I have been delighted by the swell of women represented in both the digital and “real” community who love all aspects of the outdoors. It’s been so refreshing to see women, especially brown women, as “doers” when it comes to outdoor recreation, since traditionally the images of bike riders, climbers, birders, kayakers, and other outdoor adventurers visible in the popular culture have been men — and not the brown ones! But being the classic Libran I am, I crave balance, and recently felt inspired to cultivate some more male energy on OA.
So after meeting up with Brother Yusuf Burgess my second time on a recent diversity panel on the east coast, it felt perfectly natural to ask him to represent the groundbreaking work he does as a more visible part of Outdoor Afro.
Most in the field of Environmental Education are already quite familiar with the work of Brother Yusuf over many years. He a real innovator of culturally relevant programing in Albany, New York that reaches young people of color, especially males, that has become a national model and gets young lives back on track.
He writes, “as a father of five sons, ranging in ages from 40 to 10 years old, I have been able to measure, and even do some personal comparisons and contrasts about the impact that being outdoors can have on youth and especially our young men. My role as a husband, Environmental Educator, former Gang Prevention Coordinator and current Family Intervention Specialist at an all boys high school enables me to share the various ways we can collectively begin using the power of nature to transform urban youth.”
So start checking for Brother Yusuf here on Outdoor Afro, who will begin submitting regular articles that discuss his personal experiences and vision with you all — please join me in welcoming Brother Yusuf!