You may remember Sharon Bruce from her days leading the charge in New York City, but since her move to Durham North Carolina more than a year ago we’ve all been feeling a little empty without her. Turns out the feeling is mutual and Sharon simply cannot live without a little Mappy in her life. Today we’re excited to share that next week, Sharon is launching Mappy Hour Durham at Progression Climbing! Here’s a little intro to our newest (kinda) chapter leader.
Mappy Hour (MH): How did you first get interested in the great outdoors?
Sharon Bruce (SB): I actually fell in love with the outdoors as an adult when I started going hiking in the Hudson Valley while living in NYC.
MH: What parts of the outdoors do you connect with? Why is it important to you to get outside?
SB: The outdoors opened my mind to new ways of looking at the environment and life as a whole. The patterns and the ways that things grow and exist in nature is endlessly fascinating and awe-inspiring. And it brings zen, peace and mindfulness back into my life when I need it most. I work in marketing and communications and I’m constantly seeking moments of creativity to fuel and grow my work, and I find that inspiration in the outdoors.
MH: How did you originally get involved in Mappy Hour?
SB: I had been living in NYC for 10 years and had never grown up doing anything outdoorsy – it was only when I got interested in the farm-to-table movement that I thought about the importance of dirt and sun and clean air! It was a natural transition to wanting to learn more about nature overall. I started wondering how I could get more involved in that world – I actually just did a Google search and came up with Mappy Hour.
MH: Why do you want to bring Mappy Hour to Durham?
SB: Mappy Hour definitely changed my life. Before Mappy Hour I was mostly an indoor kid, I mean, I grew up right next to the Hudson River and had no idea there were even trails. Mappy Hour really opened my eyes to the fact that you could live in an urban environment and still feel deeply connected to the outdoors. When I moved to Durham a year go, I found myself missing the community I had built up through Mappy Hour. There was a certain excitement every month to getting together with Mappy people and hearing what people were planning. It was always really inspiring and what constantly motivated me to try new adventures myself. I was missing that community and inspiration and thought “If i’m feeling that way I’m sure there are other people feeling that way too.”
One crazy story: a few months ago, I was out hiking with a group of women saying how great it was to be outside and that I used to do this thing called Mappy Hour. One of the hikers responded “Mappy Hour? I’ve been to Mappy Hour.” She had been part of the D.C. Chapter before moving to Durham as well. She told me “If you start Mappy Hour here, I’m there and so are all my friends.” I was like OKAY done, this is clearly a sign from the Mappy Hour gods.
MH: What can Durham-ites get excited for in the upcoming year? What are you excited for with the launch of Mappy Hour Durham?
There is a really strong outdoor and conservation nonprofit base in the area, which I think is unique for a small city. There are also a lot of mini communities and groups doing amazing things in the outdoors. Everyone here seems to have a friend who’s worked on a farm… my boyfriend is even building an off-grid house! So many people seem to share the same values surrounding the importance of nature. I want to give people a platform to share their incredible stories and inspire other locals. There are so many opportunities for people to learn new things.
MAPPY HOUR DURHAM LAUNCH DETAILS:
Who: Anyone who loves to hike, kayak, ski, run, climb, and generally explore the great outdoors.
What: A happy hour with a twist to bring together the local outdoor community. Every month a new speaker will highlight local recreation opportunities. This month’s event features climbers Theresa D’Aquila and Will Dorinsky talking about transitioning from indoor to outdoor climbing. Stay after the talk to climb!
When: March 27, 2018, 6:30-10:00PM
Cost: Free – just bring some guidebooks and maps to share!
**If you want to climb after the talk, bring $10.**
For more information and to RSVP please see: https://mappyhour.org/events/2018/03/indoors-out-bouldering-nc