Judith Kasiama feels at home when she’s in the wilderness.
“I love the tranquility of being in nature, the greenery, the sense that life is moving forward,” she says. “Nature is very therapeutic. It’s the best antidepressant; it’s free and natural. I come back to myself when I’m in nature.”
Kasiama has always enjoyed outdoor recreation — hiking, skiing, and camping – but found it frustrating when she had to wait on others for rides to nature spaces. Sometimes, the drivers cancelled at the last minute, or simply did not show up at all. Things changed, about seven years ago, when she saved up enough money to buy her own car.
However, the one thing that did not change was usually being the only Black or person of colour on the trails. Her friends were interested, but shied away. They did not feel comfortable trying outdoor adventures with so few people who looked like them around. Kasiama decided that this could not continue.
“I started Colour the Trails to create a sense of community. It’s where people of different body types, different abilities, can try the things that they have always wanted to try. They can do so in a space which is inclusive and supportive,” says Kasiama of the group she founded.
“It’s a safe space for them to come and learn. And it’s affordable too. It’s a way for people of colour to connect to each other, and to nature.
“Colour the Trails is also about teaching people of colour about Indigenous communities, and how to have fun responsibly on the shared land.”Judith Kasiama
Mountain biking is one of the most popular events hosted by Colour the Trails. Add in skiing, kayaking and sailing, roller skating, and trail running, and there are activities for every season. With about 16,000 followers on Instagram, the demand is there.
Colour the Trails is based in Vancouver and has a chapter in Alberta. Kasiama hopes to expand the organization across Canada. With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, more people of colour are getting outdoors and exploring the wilderness. Colour the Trails is the perfect program to encourage them to have fun and soak up the healing powers of nature.
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