Today, the Outbound Collective announced the winners of their inaugural Writers Residency for Underrepresented Storytellers. Adam Edwards, Erin McGrady and Amanda Machado were each awarded a $2,000 cash stipend and $2,000+ in gear.
More than 100 people applied for the program. “We were humbled by the interest this program received and we had so many talented applicants that we expanded the residency from two winners to three,” said Brian Heifferon, CEO and co-founder of the Outbound Collective. “We are looking forward to highlighting the work of these amazing, intrepid adventurers as part of our effort to increase the amount of published content from traditionally marginalized members of the community.”
An arborist by trade, Portland-based Adam Edwards is also a freelance writer, photographer, model, actor and content creator. He enjoys whitewater kayaking, trail running, surfing, riding bicycles, climbing, fishing, campfires, cider, rosé, exploring little known reaches of the mountains and hills. He said, “I think that opening doors for more people to enjoy their outdoor experience is imperative. I believe improving inclusivity benefits the industry and conservation efforts. By embracing new users we can share the appreciation of these spaces and protect our outdoor resources together.”
Erin McGrady is a freelance photographer, writer, content creator, and Squarespace web designer based in Asheville, North Carolina. Her first formal introduction to the National Park system was when she was eight. Her grandparents took her and her siblings on an RV trip to Shenandoah National Park for her first taste of true adventure, trails, and hiking. She’s been addicted to exploring ever since. She said, “The outdoors have had such a positive impact on my life. Some of my most treasured memories are from time spent outside. Those experiences have helped me develop self-confidence, meet new people, deepen existing relationships, and boost my overall happiness. I think it should be a right to access the outdoors, not just a privilege.” She added, “Growing up, I rarely saw people that looked like me in ads, on TV, or in magazines. They were missing in my classrooms, on my sports teams, and in the woods. Slowly, I think that’s changing. And I’m glad about it. It’s a step in the right direction. When you start to see yourself represented, it has a positive impact. I want kids coming up in today’s world to see other people that look like them doing things that they can then dream and do.”
Based in Oakland, California, Amanda Machado writes essays and facilitates workshops on justice and anti-oppression for organizations around the world. She said, “In many ways, I don’t see it as a “day job” separate from my writing work, because the conversations I facilitate in these workshops are also a means of sharing stories about power and privilege and creating space for exploring these topics together.” She added, “Black, indigenous and people of color have always been leaders in protecting the earth and living in the right relationship with nature and land. The stories we have traditionally told in the United States about the outdoors simply have not made room for that history. I believe it’s our work today to reclaim that history and take up space in an industry that too often has erased our stories.” Her first essay entitled, “Living with Two Feet on the Shore” was recently published on the Outbound Collective website and asks, “If our love for travel is so deeply interwoven with colonialism, how do we ‘settle’ on land in a way that feels like resistance?”
The Writers Residency for Underrepresented Storytellers launched with the support of Eddie Bauer, HOKA ONE ONE and Sawyer.
This program is one of several initiatives to get everyone outside, especially members of communities that the outdoor industry has historically excluded. They have created initiatives to promote representative storytelling, spotlight diverse artists, highlight underrepresented communities in film, and strengthen partnerships with and between community partners. Through these efforts, The Outbound Collective will build an inclusive and truly representative home for the modern outdoor industry.
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ABOUT THE OUTBOUND COLLECTIVE
Launched in 2013, the Outbound Collective is a website, iOS and Android app dedicated to helping travelers find local adventures, tours, and lodging options around the globe. The Outbound Collective helps its 15 million website users and 850,000 social media followers find the best spots to hike, camp, chill, and more – all with a simple interface, incredible photography, inspirational destination guides, how-to’s and stories. To learn more, visit. theoutbound.com and follow them on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.