A Hip-Hop Video Tribute to the New England National Scenic Trail

Do you think hip-hop and hiking don’t go together? Get ready to have your assumptions shattered with this new video about the New England National Scenic Trail, featuring teens from New Bedford, Massachusetts. And if you like it, help out by sharing it on social media (details below).

Learn the back story
This video was made by the Youth Ambassador Program (YAP), a collaboration between the National Park Service and 3rd EyE Youth Empowerment, a New Bedford nonprofit that uses hip hop to engage youth in efforts to create positive changes in themselves and their community. Through YAP, young people between 15 and 21 years old teach their peers about national parks, sustainability, and other issues via live performance, music, videos, and social media outreach. Seven students have been involved in the program, which pays them a stipend. They have made six videos so far, including one called “Get Outside and Move” that was featured on First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let's Move website, which promotes physical exercise and healthy eating for kids.

“Hike the NET, don't surf it”

For this particular video, the young people involved wrote the hip-hop song themselves after walking part of the 215-mile New England National Scenic Trail (or NET) in Connecticut and interviewing trail managers and volunteers (including AMC staff and volunteers) about key messages to include. Charles Tracy, National Park Service trail administrator for the NET, initiated the project in response to the park service’s “Arts Afire” goal, aimed at using the arts and new media to welcome diverse audiences to this new trail and other public lands. Speaking of the final result, he says, “I’m sure we have the coolest music video of any national scenic trail.”

Help launch the video
National Park Service staff set up a “Thunderclap cause” to draw attention to this new video. If at least 100 people sign up to support the “cause” through Twitter or Facebook before February 14, the Thunderclap application will automatically post a link to the video on those supporters’ Facebook walls (or tweet through their Twitter accounts) that day, to help generate buzz for its launch. Consider joining the virtual action in support of the NET, and the teens in the video. Maybe they can inspire your own kids and others to get out and enjoy this national treasure.

Great Kids, Great Outdoors is an Appalachian Mountain Club blog, written by Heather Stephenson.

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