about black outside
Black Outside, Inc was founded with one simple mission: reconnecting Black/African-American youth to the outdoors.
Through culturally relevant programming, inspired volunteers and staff, and passion for connecting Black youth to the powerful history of Black people in the outdoors, we seek to move the needle on diversity in the outdoors and ensure Black/African-American youth have safe and equitable spaces outside.
"Through Radical Imagination, an honoring of the land and people that came before us, and a belief in the power and wisdom of youth, we are helping to cultivate a more diverse outdoors and deeper connection to the earth . "
meet our staff
Camp Founder Girls Director
Originally from Arizona, Natalynn grew up camping and fishing with her parents and two brothers. The outdoors were a family tradition that showed her all of the benefits of being in nature. Although she did not attend summer camps as a kid, she was able to attend a short camp experience while in college. Bear Down Camp at the University of Arizona opened her eyes to the community that can come from a camp setting.
Natalynn moved to San Antonio upon graduation to teach middle school math through Teach For America. For 3 years, Natalynn taught on the South and East sides of San Antonio where she learned about Camp Founder Girls. She began to volunteer and fell in love with its mission and impact, especially a camp with such a rich history and a dedication to serving Black girls. Natalynn now serves as the Camp Director and works to continue creating empowering experiences for CFG Campers!
Charles Roundtree Bloom Project Director
Ki’Amber is from the west side of San Antonio and she grew up on both the east and west sides of town in communities that were over-policed, over-incarcerated, and over-burdened with environmental inequity. Her mother and grandfather were incarcerated at different points in her life, and several of her younger cousins’ parents have been incarcerated so she has intimate knowledge of the impacts of mass incarceration on children and families. Growing up in this environment, she experienced police harassment and traumatic police raids.
Ki’Amber attended Pomona College in Claremont, California where she had the privilege of having outdoor experiences that were transformative and healing for her. She found healing, her sense of purpose, and vision for her community in these outdoor experiences. Ki’Amber wanted to do something to support all of the kids who were impacted by the system of incarceration and lacked support so she founded Charles Roundtree Bloom Project.
A month after Ki’Amber came up with the idea for Bloom Project, her younger cousin, Charles Davonte Roundtree, Jr. also known as “Chop” was shot and killed by a San Antonio police officer on October 17, 2018. Chop was only 18 years old and didn’t have the chance to bloom to his full potential. So Ki’Amber named the program in honor of him.
Born and raised in one of Fort Worth’s economically under-resourced neighborhoods, Thurman always had an organic inkling for the outdoors; whether it was watching Surviorman after school, roaming the neighborhood with his best friend, or playing football. During his adolescent years, Thurman was introduced to a new world of outdoor activities (hunting, fishing, and camping) upon his acceptance into one of Fort Worth's top private schools. Feeling a lack of knowledge and confidence around his more affluent friends, Thurman spent countless nights reading and learning outdoor skills to "fit in." Over time, his new found interests grew into a passion and love for nature.
Prior to joining the Black Outside Inc team full-time, Thurman completed over 1000 hours of service with Black Outside, Inc as an intern through Trinity University. He proudly uses his years of outdoor knowledge and experience to ensure youth feel confident, safe, and have fun across all of Black Outside's respective programs. As the Operations Manager, Thurman oversees risk management, gear inventory, and trip planning. Thurman is a proud graduate of Trinity University, an American Hiking Association NextGen Trail Leader, and Wilderness First Responder Certified.
Bloom Project - Program Coordinator
Gabriela grew up in the southside of San Antonio and later decided to teach at her Alma Mater for several years. In her upbringing, and experience as an educator, she realized the drastic effects poverty, incarceration, and over-policing had on a young person’s mental health. More specifically, she learned how underserved youth of color are in the cities of South, West, and Eastside. She began to implement journaling, restorative practices, and mindfulness in her classroom and witnessed the benefits of leading with empathy.
In her personal life, Gabby takes care of her own mental health by gardening, trail running, and finding simple ways to connect with the outdoors. She is excited to create the same type of therapeutic experiences for local youth, as well as educate them about social and environmental justice issues. In her role as the Program Coordinator of the Charles Roundtree Bloom Project, her goal is to assist the youth in gaining the necessary tools towards healing from traumas and helping them become advocates for themselves and their community.
From the fresh smell of mint leaves in his grandfather’s garden to fishing trips with his grandparents on the Clear Fork river in Ohio; Alex’s familial connection to the outdoors always inspired him to connect deeply with nature, particularly in life’s hardest moments. This foundational love and connection to nature led him to envision a program which radically transforms outdoor spaces and programming to be a beacon of joy and liberation for Black youth--- later to be known as Black Outside, Inc.
Between 2018 and 2019, founder Alex Bailey embarked on a journey to observe and shadow summer camps and outdoor programs across the country to better understand the impact outdoor programming has on youth. He took those learnings and, alongside an amazing community of people, began building a culturally relevant outdoor program in the city of San Antonio which today collectively serves 150+ Black youth across central Texas.
Alex is a proud fellow of the National Wild Gift fellowship, The International Echoing Green Fellowship, a 2019 TedxSan Antonio speaker (Recolor the Outdoors), and currently serves as Executive Director of Black Outside, Inc.
Where have we explored?
At Black Outside, Inc we believe in an expansive definition of the outdoors-- meaning the outdoors and nature is not one place and activity. We produly connect our our youth to outdoor spaces within our home city of San Antonio, central Texas and around the United States.
Check out the map below to see where we've been.
Do you have a place you recommend we visit? Shoot us an email at email@example.com