The Trail Apprentice Program provides learning, leadership development, peer exchange, and networking opportunities for students and young professionals between the ages of 18 and 28 who are considering careers in trails and public lands. PNTS is excited to see such enthusiasm for National Trails and we’re pleased to introduce the 2023 PNTS Trail Apprentices. We are excited to have these young leaders join the trails community at the National Trails Workshop in Orlando, Florida November 7-9, 2023.
There are so many trail experiences that stick out to me as core memories that it is hard to choose just one. However, the first trail I managed to navigate in a wheelchair is a memory that glows. I had not been able to hike for several years and my heart ached for it. A local arboretum and botanical park had a loaner off-road chair (Grit Freedom) that made the barriers of an unpaved path disappear. It was a short mile or two, along a creek and under oak, birch, and maple trees. That hike filled me with a joy that lingered for weeks and I have been chasing experiences like it ever since.
My biggest accomplishment and the one that I am most proud of is creating the FAMU Outdoor Club. This organization truly changed my life in a plethora of ways. I have not only brought more than 400 students on FAMU, FSU, and TCC’s campus greater access to outdoor recreation, but I have also introduced more black and brown students to the outdoors. We have gone kayaking, rock climbing, gardening, biking, surfing, and done community service all over Tallahassee. We have been able to partner with Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) (one of the country’s largest sporting goods and outdoor recreation distributors), worked on a campaign with The North Face this past summer, worked with Red Bull to go on a surf competition in Jacksonville, created a rock climbing video with Black Diamond to increase outdoor recreation awareness on HBCU campuses, had the honor of not only having an entire page section of the Tallahassee Democrat, but also having the entire front page, and also are soon to be working with The Florida Trail Association. I have volunteered with various organizations around the Tallahassee Area and many outside of the state of Florida from ranging from working on Political Campaigns in my home state of Virginia to being an outdoor guide leader on trips in the southeast.