Looking for a new adventure to escape reality and have some fun! This group of women came up with a great that takes me back to my Girl Scout days: A camping trip! Not just any camping trip, but one filled with fun that makes you feel like you are attending an HBCU homecoming! Check out Melanated Campout and my interview with founders Cayela White, Shunte McClellan, and Jocelyn McCants.
What is your Why? Why did you start this business?
This business started a few years ago, Cayela (Melanated co-founder) decided to celebrate her birthday with a camping trip to Red Top Mountain. Several of us in the group were nervous about being in the “wild” but because of our love for Cayela, we sucked it up. Once we arrived, pitched our tents, put meat on the grill, broke out a game of spades, started fishing….let’s just say we were hooked on this new chill and hangout experience. Having the opportunity to connect with one another and with nature, lit a fire in us. And we knew that we had to share the peacefulness we found with others.
We do this because if you ask most black people if they would like to go camping, their first response would be “no, thank you”. We do this because we would like for their answer to be “Yes”. Our goal is to help people fall in love with the outdoors like we have.
What is your background?
Melanated Campout is a Black and women-owned company that’s inspiring more people of color to camp and enjoy outdoor adventures. In addition to connecting people with nature, one of our goals is to connect people via community. Our private facebook group (Melanated Campout- Black People Camp too) allows current and future campers to share tips and funny stories. We also use an event social group app to allow registered campers to get acquainted with each other and share resources leading up to the event. Using this app has proven to be a great ice breaker. We are a nurturing company and truly design a curated weekend of activities centered around our tagline Adult CPR - Camp, Party, Relax!
Essentially, we bring our culture to the woods and show people how to relax and have fun experiences outdoors.
What happens during these events? What is it?
We offer a fun weekend filled with tent & RV camping, hiking, fishing, yoga, relaxing, farming classes, empowerment chats, line dancing, adult field day, comedy, themed night parties and more! Think of it as a dope family reunion with all your favorite camp cousins. The best part is that you can make this weekend whatever you need it to be. You can do as much or as little as you like.
Who attends the event? Audience?
This year we will have 400-500 campers in attendance. One of the things that leaves me in awe is our campers. We have the best campers, period! They are welcoming, friendly, and ready to have a great time. It always amazes me that while most people are in their 30-50s, every age group (both older and younger) enjoy themselves. Our campers come from over 24 states to attend, so don’t let distance stop you.
In addition, we have campers from every phase of life. Whether they are newly divorced, recently empty nesters, single parents taking time for themselves, family reunions making memories, couples celebrating anniversaries or birthdays, etc… our goal is for them to relax in nature and leave Campout feeling restored and rejuvenated as they go back to “real life”.
What has been your biggest challenge with putting together these events?
We’ve all heard the saying, “the road to success is always under construction.” We can definitely relate, we’ve experienced several opportunities that have allowed us to learn and grow. One of our biggest challenges has been finding the right team and being able to come out of the weeds and be able to operate on a more strategic level. Our current team of volunteers and staff are wonderful and we are grateful to them.
What is your long term goal for this business? what do you really want to see happen in the next 5-10 years?
As leaders in the Black Camping Movement industry,we look forward to expanding our business model to include camping supplies, t-shirts and other camping novelties. As well as, expanding our brand to include more events that encourage people to move out of their comfort zone and try something new. We most look forward to collaborating with those that believe the outdoors are for everyone and are actively working to increase diversity in the outdoors.
What's your definition of "grinding pretty"?
Our definition of “grinding pretty” means operating with integrity and toward fulfilling our purpose. There is nothing more beautiful then meeting your goals in a way you can be proud of.
To find out more or grab your tickets follow on Instagram @melanatedcampout .