Getting Outdoors with Zenovia of Black Adventure Crew
We were so excited to connect with Zenovia Stephens of Black Adventure Crew to learn more about her family and mission. If you're looking for inspiration for getting outdoors, follow Zenovia and her family at @blackadventurecrew 🌿
Wanderwild: Zenovia, please tell us about yourself and your family!
Zenovia: My name is Zenovia Stephens and I’m from Chicago, living in Huntsville, AL with my college sweetheart, George Stephens. We met while attending Alabama A&M University as student athletes and have been together ever since. We are the parents to three sons that keep us young and, on our toes, daily. This school year has changed the way we live and allowed us the opportunity to homeschool so, I manage the boys’ classes while working at my non-profit organization, Black Kids Adventures, Inc.
Wanderwild: We're also each married to our college sweethearts! And we know what you mean by having kids that keep you on your toes 😊 Can you tell us more about Black Kids Adventure, Inc?
Zenovia: My family and I have always been into trying new things and spending a significant amount of time outdoors. As we would be out and about with our adventurers, my husband and I began noticing and discussing the lack of Black families seen when we’re participating in things such as hiking. It bothered us that we seemed to be the only ones doing it in our area, while we realized that wasn’t true, we still weren’t seeing other Black families. The amount doing it just wasn’t enough to where we’d have the pleasure of running into a family that looked like ours while out. Through seeing this and wanting to see a different picture in the outdoor space, we created our family blog Black Adventure Crew in hopes of inspiring Black families to join us in outdoor adventures. Eventually this led to the formation of Black Kids Adventures, Inc. which allows us to do more than inspire. At BKA we are able to harness the desire for change into events and programs that actually get families outside together. While the focus is on changing the narrative of who participants in outdoor adventures, BKA is also about promoting a solid Black family unit.
Wanderwild: We love hearing how you saw an opportunity to support other Black families and jumped into action. We can't wait to learn more about the programs that BKA provides.
What types of adventures do you and your family like?
Zenovia: We are true adventurers because we will try almost anything at least one time. We love hiking, spending time on water canoeing, kayaking or paddling, and a recent add, geocaching. We also enjoy visiting different parks, searching for cool murals and camping out in our backyard. We aren’t necessarily stuck doing on thing, we live by the motto “Adventure is what you make it and can be found anywhere!”
Wanderwild: We love your motto and have a very similar philosophy! We always say "experiences are everything", and we are super passionate that the experiences can be big or small. We also share your passion for nature and spending time on the water.
What is it about outdoor/nature adventures that you prefer?
Zenovia: I prefer outdoor adventures because being outside honestly has a calming effect. When we’re stuck indoors, things seem to feel loud and chaotic. The moment we get outside, it’s gone. We spend time talking to our boys about how we can use nature to help us through hard times/big emotions so that they’re learning early on that there’s a level of healing that can take place in when outside. I also love providing unlimited opportunities for them to explore and simply be free. I feel that’s best done in nature.
Wanderwild: We agree with every bit of this! We've always said we feel like better moms when we're all out of the house. It takes the focus off what we all "should" be doing and give us freedom to have shared experience and work out all of that energy! And we agree that teaching kids to get to nature is a great way to reinforce healthy ways of dealing with stress.
What's your advice to parents on how to inspire their families to get out and explore?
Zenovia: My advice to just start where you are. If hiking isn’t your thing, make it a priority to just get outside in the yard or to a park regularly. Once you do that, you’ll begin to see more of how your child interacts with nature, and you can figure out what to add in. Getting outside doesn’t have to look my way or anyone else’s, it needs it be tailored to your family so that it’s enjoyable for your family. For parents looking to get into hiking and don’t know where to start, Google family trails in your area and I guarantee you’ll find at least one blog written on me. You can also look up All Trails and get everything needed to head out to the perfect trail for you!
Wanderwild: We're going to take your advice of "start where you are" with us, so well said! Zenovia, thanks for sharing your wisdom and mission with us. We're so grateful to #gowanderwild with your family 💚
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I love that you teach your kids to use nature to help calm their big feelings. It has the same effect on me. I also like the idea of looking forward local trails that my family can explore. Thanks!