OutdoorAfro.com Founder Rue Mapp is Nominated to Join the Root 100

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Debbie Sipe
California Assn of RV Parks and Campgrounds
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OAKLAND, Calif., Nov. 14, 2012 – Rue Mapp, who has gained national attention for her efforts to stimulate African American involvement in camping and other healthy outdoor activities, has been selected to become part of the Root 100, a prestigious list of the most influential emerging and established African American leaders between the ages of 25 and 45

“This is an incredible honor,” said Mapp, a UC Berkeley graduate who launched OutdoorAfro.com three years ago as a social media website to connect African Americans with the Great Outdoors.

Mapp will receive formal recognition of her membership in this year’s Root 100 during an awards ceremony scheduled for Thursday, November 15, in New York City. All of the Root 100 award recipients, from New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow to tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams have been invited to attend.

Mapp, for her part, has gotten the attention of government officials and the business community as a result of her efforts to involve African Americans in camping and other healthy outdoor activities.

Two years ago, President Obama’s administration invited Mapp to participate in the White House Conference on America’s Great Outdoors. She was subsequently invited to participate in a White House brainstorming session for Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, offering her ideas and insights on ways to engage Americans to become more involved in outdoor recreation activities. Earlier this year, she was appointed to an advisory board for the U.S. Department of Interior to advise on ways to stimulate greater African American visitation to the national parks and other scenic places.

Mapp has also gained increased media attention as a result of support she has received from the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds and Camp-California.com, which have publicized her travels and outreach efforts to the African American community.

Mapp’s effectiveness stems from her growing roster of connections in government and business community as well as the success of OutdoorAfro.com in connecting African Africans who already have an interest in hiking or biking or camping or other activities with other African Americans with similar interests.

The idea, she said, is to encourage African Americans to network with each other and become more involved with outdoors. OutdoorAfro.com is not only a forum to discuss the need for outdoor engagement, but a planning tool for organizing outings.

“It’s as if she’s creating a black Sierra Club,” said Danielle Lee, a colleague of Mapp who has watched OutdoorAfro grow from an obscure website to one that is frequently accessed by people across the country.

A vocal outdoor enthusiast whose ideas are frequently sought by the White House, Mapp understands how nature can nurture not only our physical, but emotional wellbeing.

An Oakland, Calif.-based mother of three, Mapp also knows that families that engage in healthy outdoor activities like hiking, biking, swimming and camping can strengthen their relationships, while combating diabetes and other health problems that result from sedentary lifestyles dominated by computers and other electronic devices.

“Everyone talks about the healthcare crisis facing this country, a crisis that is particularly acute in the African American community. But engagement in the Great Outdoors is something anyone can right now to improve their physical and emotional health. Getting off the couch it is the first step.”

Unfortunately, black Americans are perceived to have little connection with the Great Outdoors. “How often do you see black people hiking in Yosemite, or sitting around a campfire in a family campground? Not enough.”

But Mapp is working to change that.

For more information on OutdoorAfro.com as well as camping opportunities in California and across the country, please visit www.Camp-California.com and www.GoCampingAmerica.com.