Never question the value of exposure and opportunity when encouraging young people to spend more time in the outdoors. At 20 years of age Tyrhee Moore is a shining example of how the National Outdoor Leadership School is creating a new multi-ethnic generation of youth to become actively engaged in the natural world. A student at the University of West Virginia Tyrhee is not only at the top of his class, but he is also a solid role model for people of all ages looking to create a lifestyle and career path in service to environmental preservation.
Introduced to NOLS through the City Kids Wilderness Project in Washington D.C. as part of the Gateway Partner Program, Tyrhee has gained a broad range of skills and abilities in outdoor education. In addition to being an accomplished mountaineer and outdoorsman he is also a talented instructor with a profound willingness to teach aspiring students.
As the youngest member of Expedition Denali, the first team of African-American climbers to attempt an ascent of the highest peak in North America, Tyhree has proven himself to be an enthusiastic presence on the mountain. On Day 3 of the journey he made the first satellite phone dispatch to report on the group’s progress. With a shout out to his friends and family back home in D.C. Tyrhee said he and his teammates are making good time despite having carried heavy loads over 5.5 miles of ice across the Kahiltna Glacier. In an interview conducted at the NOLS headquarters in Lander Wyoming Tyhree said he wants everyone to be inspired by his Alaska adventure and follow his example to give the outdoors a try.
Q: What’s it like for you when you’re engaged in your outdoor pursuits?
A: When you’re out there you always question what makes you do this stuff. You wonder about the safety of it and how you could be at home in bed watching TV. But then you think about it and realize that there’s nothing else like it. It’s kind of indescribable unless you’re out there doing it yourself. The views, the people that you meet, everything…it’s just worth it. I’m very thankful that I get to do stuff like this.
Q: How excited are you about doing the Denali climb?
A: I’m very excited about the Denali climb, especially with the group of people that’s coming along with me. Everybody is really cool. I learn so much from everybody every time I speak to them. The climb itself I just feel like it’s going to be tough, no question. But I feel like I have the right people to go up their with me and have a great trip.
Q: How important is it do you think for other young people of color to see you be a part of this?
A: I think it’s very important because I have a lot of friends who I know are capable of doing things like this too. A big problem with why a lot people my age aren’t doing things like this is there aren’t enough people doing it and it doesn’t seem cool enough. And I think that if I do it, hopefully that will inspire other people to do it as well.
Q: You’re the youngest member of the team. Do feel any sense of pressure on yourself to prove to your team members that you know you’re stuff?
A: Some times I feel like I have to prove myself to a few people on the team. But I’m still working on ways to show them. I know that I’m confident, but there’s the since that they’re more experience because they’ve done more or that they’ve been here longer. An experience that I’m learning is how to work with people who are older because I don’t do it on a regular basis. I think that it’s helpful to me to be in this situation because working with these people can ultimately transfer into my everyday life when I go into a business job once I graduate from school. I won’t be working with people my age then. It’s important for me to learn now.
Q: What unique qualities do you think you bring to this team?
A: Once I’m out there I feel like I’m a pretty energetic person. I like to have fun and make it a fun situation. I think most people are too focused on the seriousness of the climb and not really enjoy where there are. We’re going to be on Denali, the tallest mountain around. You have sit back and enjoy it! We’re there for a reason. but we are there to enjoy ourselves. This is a once in a life time opportunity and I will not let them forget that.
Q: After this climb you’ll have long career ahead of you. What do you look forward to accomplishing in life either as an outdoorsman or in outdoor education?
A: I always think about what I’m going to do when I get older. Ultimately when I go back to my middle school and my high school there are a lot of kids who are interested in the outdoors they just don’t have the access. There are basketball courts and tennis courts, but there’s no rock climbing wall or anything like that. I want to incorporate an outdoor program in the schools where I grew up and hopefully get more kids outdoors. That’s my dream. But who knows? Hopefully it will happen.