SC State University Head Football Coach Oliver “Buddy” Pough is wrapping up a Tailgate Tour of South Carolina state parks this weekend at Sesquicentennial to launch a marketing initiative designed to draw more African Americans to the great outdoors. The collaboration between the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism and the marketing company Black Folks Camp Too, will share resources to speak specifically to this audience about enjoying state parks.
Black Folks Camp Too was founded by Columbia native Earl Hunter.
“Folks always ask me, 'How can we get more Black folks to go camping?’ I tell them to just get some Black folks and take them camping. If you don't have any Black friends or know any Black folks, this is the great time in America to go find some. It's not rocket science. It is no different from taking them to the mall,” Hunter said.
That’s how Hunter ended up taking Coach Pough camping.
“This football thing has experienced a break in the action, so I don't get a chance to go out and do what I usually do on Saturdays,” Coach Pough said. “Earl called me and said 'Coach, I want you to go out with us to the parks. We are helping to promote South Carolina's State Parks and tourism among Black folks.”
“I've been to state parks before, but I didn't know that there are 47 of them around the state,” he continued. “There are so many opportunities to get to know each one of them.”
Coach Pough said that camping was a new experience for him.
“I’ve done a lot of things in my life, but I’ve never been camping,” said Coach Pough. “My time at Table Rock State Park with Black Folks Camp Too was wonderful and I’m looking forward to a few nights RVing here in Sesqui. I’m proud to support Earl and his mission to start more conversations around the campfire.”
The Tailgate Tour began Wednesday at Table Rock State Park. Pough went camping for the first time at a state park, hosted campfire conversations, did some fishing and went hiking. At Sesqui, he also participated in bike riding and paddle boating.
A long-term goal of the South Carolina State Park Service has been to broaden its appeal to make sure the diverse visitation at state parks – especially for pursuits like camping and hiking -- mirrors the population.
“State parks were entrusted to us by the people of South Carolina,” said SCPRT Director, Duane Parrish. “With the help and influence of Coach Pough and Black Folks Camp Too, we can remind South Carolinians that these treasures, and the invigorating recreational opportunities they provide, are here for everyone to explore.”
Under the agreement, Black Folks Camp Too and the Park Service will collaborate to promote state parks camping and outdoor recreation on a platform that speaks specifically to African Americans. Among several benefits, State Parks in South Carolina will be the only campgrounds promoted in the “state parks” category on Black Folks Camp Too’s website for the remainder of the calendar year. State Park campgrounds also will be featured on the website’s interactive resource map. SCPRT will have opportunities to capture images from the Tailgate Tour for future marketing programs. And the Park Service will be listed as an official partner of Black Folks Camp Too with links to the website at SouthCarolinaParks.com.
“As a youngster, I visited Sesquicentennial State Park many times yet I never knew camping there was an option,” said Black Folks Camp Too founder, Earl B. Hunter, Jr. “Columbia, SC, is my hometown, so it certainly feels good to help remove fear, add knowledge and invite ALL folks to gather around the campfire! The campfire in our log is the portal to AMAZING conversations, your race, age or gender does not matter. We ALL have something to say!”
About South Carolina State Parks
The South Carolina State Park Service manages and protects more than 80,000 acres of natural, cultural and recreational resources, which range from deep mountain wilderness and old-growth forests to plantation homes, battlefields, waterfronts and wetlands. The state park system includes 47 operational parks and six historic properties. The system also includes more than 1,500 separate buildings, 155 cabins, 80 motel rooms, 3,000 campsites, two 18-hole golf courses, two saltwater fishing piers, 42 ponds, 156 miles of paved roads and more than 300 miles of hiking and riding trails.
About Black Folks Camp Too
Black Folks Camp Too was founded in 2019 by Earl B. Hunter, Jr. Before founding Black Folks Camp Too, Earl was an experienced business leader across multiple industries and a leading sales executive in the RV Industry where he grew the business from $1 million to $17.5 million in sales in 4 years. In 2015, Earl embarked on a road trip around North America with his 7-year-old son, Dillon. Along their three-month journey they explored the highlights of the continental US and Canada and visited 49 campgrounds! The journey was as eye-opening as it was adventurous—they saw only one other Black family during the entire trip. That disparity and the desire to share the camping experience and outdoor lifestyle with other Black Folks drove Earl to found Black Folks Camp Too and drive its mission of removing fears, adding knowledge and inviting Black Folks to camp with any and everybody. Learn more at www.blackfolkscamptoo.com. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram.