Diversity hike encouraging people to step out of their comfort zones

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – We all come from different walks of life. And, at one time or another, those paths tend to cross. This is the story of how people from different backgrounds are walking the same path to unite the community through diversity.

Ragina Ajack and her family enjoy going for peaceful walks on the trails around Sioux Falls.

“My family and I love going hiking and just being outdoors,” hiker Ragina Ajack said.

That all changed because of the tension that came out of the May 31 Black Lives Matter protests.

“I couldn’t stay out at the park for more than an hour because I was, kind of, afraid of something bad happening,” Ajack said.

She made a post on Facebook expressing her concerns. Seeing this, Kristen Townsend, a complete stranger at the time, invited her to go on a hike with her family.

“After the hike we went to her house and the kids just automatically loved each other and started playing and dancing,” Ajack said.

“It just kind of made the anxiety just really go away,” hiker Kristen Townsend said.

And a new friendship was born.

Townsend & Ajack.

“We decided, ‘how good would it be if everybody else had this chance in connecting with one another regardless of race or where you come from,” Ajack said.

Now, they’re helping others step out of their comfort zones by asking them to go for a hike at the Outdoor Campus.

“We want everyone to be able to get to know people across cultures and across boundaries. Sometimes it’s not easy to find how to do that, so this hike is designed to make introductions,” Townsend said.

“Sometimes, we just get kind of nervous and don’t really want to get out of our shells,” Hiker Zach Van Harris said.

Joining them on this path is Zach Van Harris. He says that while we all come from different walks of life, sharing one could help others down the path of enlightenment.

“The more we get exposure with other communities, the more we get exposure with other people, the more we get to have this awareness and understanding that we’re all just people at the end of the day,” Van Harris said.

Just like how a random act of kindness, can lead to a great friendship and inspiration.

“We encourage everyone to get to know someone that they wouldn’t otherwise know from anywhere else,” Ajack said.

They say this hike is the first in series of future activities. It begins at 7 tonight at the Outdoor Campus. It’s open for anyone from any background. You can also bring your kids and pets.

To learn more, you can visit the event Facebook page.

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