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How Vámonos outside got started

The main goal of Vámonos Outside is to engage, connect and inspire our Latinx community into our outdoor spaces in Central Oregon. This all started in early 2019 when Zavier Borja started a local chapter of Latino Outdoors which has a very similar mission. Latino Outdoors is a national nonprofit that relies on volunteer lead local chapters. Zavier wanted to start this local chapter because he has lived in Central Oregon the majority of his life but never had experienced the outdoors in a recreational aspect. After doing a lot of learning, he realized where the disconnect(s) were and are. Realizing that many other people share these disconnects which translate into barriers for outdoor access. With that new lens of understanding, he wanted to mitigate those barriers any way possible. Which resulted in the creation of the local chapter for Latino Outdoors. After a few months and a couple of outings word got out quickly in the outdoor community. Local nonprofits and governmental agencies took great interest in the mission of Latino Outdoors and wanted to find ways to collaborate in order to diversify our outdoor spaces and connect with a Latinx community here in Central Oregon. 

In his role as Founder and program coordinator of the Central Oregon Latino Outdoors chapter, Zavier sat down with potential partners that were interested in collaborating. The folks over at Latino Outdoors national headquarters alongside the local stakeholders in Central Oregon thought it would be best to create a new program/organization in order to move this work forward as a full-time position. A planning process occurred in 2020, with both Latinx leaders in the community and members from outdoor-focused organizations. This coalition secured funding for the staff position, (Special thanks to Grey Family Foundation, Oregon Community Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service) and is excited to have Zavier on staff, leading these efforts.  All of the partners can be found on the about us page here. 

If you or your organization would like to be a part of this collaborative effort or if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Zavier Borja (zavier.borja@vamonosoutside.org).