Expedition Denali on Kickstarter

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In June of 2013 the first team of African-American climbers will attempt to reach the highest peak in the continental United States. The project called Expedition Denali aims not only to demonstrate the long standing presence of black athletes on the adventure scene, but to inspire a new generation of young people to embrace the enduring legacy of minority participation in outdoor recreation and environmental conservation.

The face of mountaineering is about to make a dramatic change. Though typically dominated by white men the sport of climbing is taking on a new image. The look of those who ascend high peaks with rope and ice ax, will soon reflect the diverse appearance of the American people. A new documentary film and non-fiction book now in production intend to tell this amazing story. And with your contribution on Kickstarter you can help make them happen.

In cooperation with the National Outdoor Leadership School, Distill Productions, and the Julia Yarbough Media Group the Joy Trip Project announces a new Kickstarter campaign to raise funds in support of a film crew to follow and document the historic Expedition Denali climb. Though the summit team has full financial backing what remains is the means to record and share this incredible adventure story with a broad audience.
With several community outreach events planned after the climb through 2014 the organizers of Expedition Denali will need a set of high quality media resources to help spread their message. Your contribution through Kickstarter can help the producers create a feature length documentary suitable for television broadcast and adventure film festival consideration. I sincerely hope I can encourage you to give.

Friends and fans of the Joy Trip Project have been after me to make a movie for a while now. I suppose some might figure I’m due for a little payback for all the reviews and profiles I’ve written over the years on the work of the many artists, athletes and activists I admire most. Though I might possess some latent talent for filmmaking I have no training and if my work in radio production has taught anything it’s that editing takes time and effort and is best when done as part of a larger team. Typically as a journalist I work alone. And it wasn’t until I became part of a unique group of passionate individuals that I would even consider creating a short film not to mention a feature. It didn’t take much convincing when I was graciously asked to sign on as writer/co-producer of this exciting new project. In addition to the film I will also be writing my very first book.

Last year I was commissioned to write a feature story for Alpinist Magazine that takes a look at the role African-Americans have played in the world of mountaineering. The piece called “Exploring the Adventure Gap” set me on a literary journey that just so happen to coincide with my participation in Expedition Denali. As one of very few African-Americans actively working in the outdoor industry as journalist the responsibility and privilege of telling this story falls to me. And I am immediately impressed with the clear understanding that this could be the most significant thing I do in my entire life.

The demographic makeup of the American people is dramatically changing. In 2042 the U.S. population is predicted to shift in favor of a non-white majority. When that happens and nothing has been done to encourage these emerging communities of color to embrace with affection the natural world there will be too few citizens in our country to enact legislation or allocate state and federal funds to protect it. By participating in Expedition Denali, by producing this documentary film and writing the book I believe I am taking proactive steps to enthusiastically invite under-represented members of our society to become actively engaged in outdoor recreation and the movement to preserve wild and scenic places. Though not everyone we encounter will be inspired to climb a high mountain or camp for an extend period on a glacier, we hope that they will at least realize that they have the option and the opportunity to follow the example of the many new role models we will introduce through this long project. We want everyone regardless of their race or ethnicity to realize that they have a welcome place in the natural environment. Your contribution will make that message possible. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/676871108/expedition-denali-documentary-film
~JEM

The Joy Trip Project is made possible with the support of sponsors Patagonia, Rayovac and the New Belgium Brewing Company

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Author:James

I'm a freelance journalist that specializes in telling stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living.

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