Around the same time that I began hiking, I also got involved with some queer youth communities in Boston. I have volunteered as an Adult Advisor at BAGLY for 6 years. BAGLY is a Boston-based Youth-led, adult-supported social support organization committed to social justice, and creating, sustaining and advocating for programs, policies, and services for the LGBTQ Youth Community.
What keeps me coming back to BAGLY is a restored faith in humanity and being part of an inspiring queer family that gives me hope and constant changing perspectives by opening my eyes, ears, heart and mind. BAGLY keeps me on the cutting edge of political correctness, keeping me on my toes as far as what our youth need to feel supported and nurtured as we strive for a deeper abiding loving world.
Last summer I connected with The Venture Out Project and learned that there was an interest in creating a safe space for queer youth to get outside. As someone who has first-hand experience that being in nature can be deeply healing and support a practice of spiritual growth and personal recovery, I got involved.
I asked just a few youth at BAGLY if going on a hike seemed interesting to them and if they thought that other youth would go if I organized it. The response was overwhelming. There was a huge desire for nature blocked by a lack of accessibility.
With support from the Venture OUT Project I set a date and proposed it to BAGLY. Of the 25 youth who signed up, 17 youth showed up at 8:15 on Saturday morning with signed waivers in hand and backpacks full of snacks and water excited to hit the trail. I had my pal Stud offering adult support and my pal Travis of TVOP with a rented van.
Our youth ranged in age from 15-23 and were from all over Boston and surrounding areas. One of whom took 2 buses requiring them to get up at 6am. Some came to escape their transphobic families for the day. Some came because their friends where there. Some came because they craved the woods. We hiked for three hours, did a little rock scrambling and some ups and downs. In the end folks expressed gratitude. It was inspiring and I can’t wait to do it again.