Job Bellevue is on a mission to dispel the notion that doing things outdoors is not just a "white people thing". And the way he's doing it is by creating all-inclusive outdoor experiences that help normalize what it means to be outdoors for anyone who still believes the outdoors isn't for them.
"I didn't grow up doing this," says Bellevue. "I was born in Haiti. My family didn't think of being in these spaces as grounding or even safe. I discovered it on my own, loved it and went all-in."
"My friends would tell me that I'm mimicking 'white people'. That I'm not being true to myself. But, I'm most true to myself when I'm outdoors hiking, camping or ice climbing."
"So, I wanted to show people that there's no boogie man in the woods. That there's nothing to be scared of. And I started by trying to make things more accessible, so that the more black and brown people do it and feel that these spaces are for them, too, the more normalized it feels."
Bellevue continued, "I chose the phrase Echo the Journey because everyone talks about summiting mountains. It's become a metaphor for how they succeed. But we never see their journey, the highs and lows. By echoing what we did throughout the journey, the idea is that it will help someone else navigate a similar journey."
"We echo trauma. We echo grief. But we also echo also positivity. What I want people to do is echo their own trials and tribulations, to share their experiences with others and help each other."
Eventually, Bellevue plans to create a non-profit foundation to subsidize the cost of introducing these outdoor spaces to others, particularly black and brown kids. The goal would be to provide them an alternative outlet than baseball or football, to get them convinced that the outdoors is for them, too, while they're still young.
Look out for Echo The Journey experiences every month here on Outerthere.com.
Learn more about Echo The Journey Outdoors here.
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