For Jordan Welch, the outdoors has always been a passion of his. After this past summer’s Mappy Hour Chapter, Jordan was inspired to step up as Seattle Chapter. This is his story of how he got to love the outdoors in the first place, and how and where he plans to take the #MappyHourSEA chapter next.
What got you interested in the outdoors?
I grew up near St. Louis, Missouri, in the Midwest. I was in a rural town, and had a lot of opportunities to play as a kid, go out in nature, enjoy the woods, or city parks. I was also a part of the Boy Scouts. I’m an Eagle Scout, so that was a big part of my childhood and teen years, doing hikes, campouts, going to summer camps, a lot of adventures and skills were taught throughout that program, it was a really great experience.
What part of the outdoors do you connect with the most?
I often hear this question of “pick a biome,” like mountains, desert, forest, ocean – which would you pick. I prefer water activities, I love to swim, I love any human powered watercraft, so first was canoes, back in the Midwest and in the Boy Scouts. Once I moved out here about 10 years ago, I got into kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding. I take a trip once a year to sea kayak around the San Juan Islands, which are about two hours north of Seattle. There’s something very meditative and cathartic about meeting the water and the air. So yeah, anything that’s got a paddle or an oar in my hand is probably my favorite thing to do in the outdoors.
How did you first get involved with Mappy Hour?
Well, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed as many people do at our age, and I had an ad show up for a campout. At first, I thought they were trying to sell me something, like a product, but the closer I looked at the ad, I realized that this was a small group of outdoorsy people that were putting together a campout and inviting others to go. I’m a big fan of facilitating experiences, I really like the aspect of inclusion as well, this isn’t like a private club you have to subscribe to. So I went on that campout with about a dozen other complete strangers, and we had a blast. Lindsay, who’s now relocated to Portland, headed that up and she did a great job, and there were about twelve of us and six dogs, so we had a lot of dog fans in the audience too. That’s a weekend I’ll never forget, mostly because of the connection I made with others. Some of those same people are going to come hang out with me this weekend and we’re going to make a sushi dinner together, because somebody wanted to learn how. I appreciate the outdoor facilitation, but also just the connection to like-minded people, I’ve made some great friends already.
What are your short and long term goals for the Seattle chapter?
So short term, I want to make everyone who’s already a member of this chapter aware that we’re going to be doing this relaunch, so the first two to three months make sure they’re aware of low barrier-of-entry activities. And long term, I really think there’s such a huge untapped opportunity here for me to play traffic cop between all the divisions of organizations, community involvement, and different types of outdoor activities that have their own groups on social media. I just want to find a way to weave that all together and have a place where people can say “hey, I want to go do something outdoorsy this weekend, what’s available,” and know they can just hop on Mappy Hour and take a look and pick from any number of options.