As told to Steve Holt, senior editor for engagement content. Edited for clarity and length.
Chapter: New York–North Jersey
Favorite spots to Be Outdoors: Fire Island, N.Y.; Montauk, N.Y.; Central Park, Manhattan; Riverside Park, Manhattan
Next big adventure: Hawaii, Ecuador, or Panamá
I grew up in Long Island. My first real taste of the outdoors was in the Girl Scouts. When I was in the third grade I sold the most cookies in my troop and won two weeks at summer camp. My mom said I should go but my dad didn’t like the idea of me going away. My mom won, and I went. It was one of the best experiences I remember.
Fast-forward, I became a parent and living in New York City was very different. I wanted to find a Girl Scout troop, and they pulled me into an office and convinced me to be a leader. I began taking these young girls on trips, including camping and hiking and canoeing. As our activities and adventures grew, the boys in the school became very jealous, so I wound up having a Girl Scout troop with boys in it.
I joined AMC as a member in 2017, and I started bringing my students up to Harriman State Park, outside of NYC, which was wonderful. I love Fire Island; it’s my favorite beach in New York besides Montauk. I noticed there are not so many folks that looked like me when I was attending AMC chapter dinners and different events. I said, “I’m going to keep showing up and making myself known.” After I experienced a racially tinged incident on an AMC outing, I became involved with the AMC New York–North Jersey Chapter Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Now, I’m the chair of that committee.
The first reason I volunteer with AMC is because I love the outdoors. The second is because I want people who look like me to know that this space is available to them. I think when you haven’t done a certain activity like canoeing or hiking, you feel more comfortable if there are people who are doing that same activity that look like you.
Interested in volunteering yourself? Find opportunities near you!