This summer, we’re exploring the Healing Power of Nature through a series of stories from the Yamai family and members of the Snow Peak community. This week, we’re sharing the story of Chad Brown. If you haven’t already, check out our video about Chad’s journey.
Chad’s profound experiences in the outdoors altered the direction of his life. After finding solace in nature, he looked for ways to share it with others. He refocused his creative energies on new goals – outdoor advocacy and accessibility, social and environmental justice, eventually founding two nonprofits – Soul River and Love Is King. Though they have different objectives, each one centers on a belief in the power of time outside and strong community.
Soul River brings veterans as mentors and inner-city youth together into the wild rivers of nature. They inspire the youth by becoming guardians, teachers and role models as an act of service. The goal is to encourage youth participants to grow and become ambassadors of our natural environment. Soul River strengthens communities by connecting inner city youth and veterans to the outdoors, harnessing incredible opportunities and powerful experiences that forge strong connections between youth and veterans, their local communities, and the natural world. The organization teaches outdoor and leadership skills that can’t be learned in a traditional classroom, instead they use rivers as a setting for experiential education. In 2020, Chad founded Love Is King, which focuses on removing fear in the outdoors and providing equitable access and resolute safety to ensure an enriching experience in nature. Love Is King provides an opportunity for BIPOC leaders to step into the realm of public land and freshwater conservation efforts and disrupt the historical system that prevented BIPOC voices in government spaces where the decisions were made about land, wildlife and indigenous conservation policies.
The organization takes BIPOC leaders to an environmentally threatened and fragile environment where they will live for two weeks, learning about the threats the land is facing and meeting with members of indigenous communities, government officials, and local stakeholders. Participants will become environmental warriors of the land, ready to protect and advocate for it. After returning home, they will use their voices, talents, and skills to speak up and fight for this land, its inhabitants and its wildlife.