Basementeer Spotlight: Latino Outdoors
We're incredibly excited about partnering with Latino Outdoors. They're one of our newest partners and will be the official beneficiary of our Outside In events for the month of September! Learn more about them (from them!) below:
About Latino Outdoors
Latino Outdoors is a unique Latinx-led organization working to create a national community of leaders in conservation and outdoor education. As part of this work, they are focused on expanding and amplifying the Latinx experience in the outdoors; providing greater leadership, mentorship, and professional opportunities while serving as a platform for sharing cultural connections and narratives that are often overlooked by the traditional outdoor movement. It is a space for the community to be present, share their voices, and showcase how conservation roots have been ingrained in la cultura Latina for generations.
The Latino population is the fastest growing demographic in the United States, but among the most underrepresented in conservation, outdoor recreation, and environmental education. In a short period Latino Outdoors has expanded from a California based organization to an international volunteer movement. The original model is replicable and allows individuals to include their unique passions in each outing location and at each event. Through this network, volunteer leaders support each other in leading responsible recreation, providing mentoring activities to youth, expanding outdoor access through experiential programming, and partnering with other organizations for supplemental education components.
Their Mission & Values
They inspire, connect, and engage Latino communities in the outdoors and embrace cultura y familia as part of the outdoor narrative, ensuring their history, heritage, and leadership are valued and represented.
Latino Outdoors strives to make the outdoors a safe and welcoming place for all people, regardless of race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, ability, language, and nationality. This extends beyond their outdoor programming to their core values as an organization, especially one that understands the history and power of public policy and legislation in protecting public lands and landscapes that enjoy today, but that many times came at the expense of communities that were marginalized and displaced. Latino Outdoors welcomes the full spectrum of people and stands in solidarity with all individuals, organizations, and societies that uphold this value.
Vamos Outdoors Outings Program
(All Latino Outdoors group outings are suspended until further notice due to COVID-19. See below for a list of virtual/online activities)
Latino Outdoors offers free outdoor activities and supports people who are receiving their introduction to nature, creating a welcoming and family-friendly environment with outings that weave together aspects of culture, community, wellness, and connection. Through Latino Outdoors’ Vamos Outdoors Program, they work to:
- Provide members of Latinx and other underrepresented communities with transformative outdoor experiences
- Foster leadership and professional development opportunities for our volunteers and staff
- Contribute to a richer, more representative narrative of outdoor engagement by diverse communities
Guided by Latino Outdoor’s theory of change, volunteers craft outdoor experiences that emphasize connections between people, place, process, and policy. The goal is to inspire participants’ conservation ethic, encourage their evolving engagement in outdoor recreation, and perhaps most importantly, recognize and celebrate the diverse ways in which diverse communities already connect with the outdoors. Latino Outdoors believes these outcomes will arise naturally if individuals and communities have an equitable opportunity to play and recreate outdoors.
Connecting during COVID-19
During COVID they have shifted to virtual programming to continue to help their community get outdoors. In the San Francisco Bay Area they have stayed connected to their community through Facebook, Instagram, Virtual Events, and recently started Book Club. Check out some of the amazing programs they're providing:
- #TogetherApart promotes independent outdoor exploration and recreation by the families and individuals who would normally join them for hikes, camping, and other outdoor activities.
- #StayHome provides a variety of free educational resources and activities that you and members of your household can engage in while practicing social distancing.
You can support Latino Outdoors today by becoming a Basementeer and choosing them as your beneficiary. If you're already a member, you can change your beneficiary at any time!