Where The Wind Blows And The River Flows/Donde El Viento Sopla Y El Aire Fluye Dice
Hola! My name is Josie Gutierrez and I am a Latina and the Program Coordinator for Latino Outdoors – Southwest. People often ask how I got involved with the organization. I say it was a mutual discovery. I started exploring the outdoors after my children had outgrown me, and I had more of a chance to discover what I knew I loved: nature. I saw Latino Outdoors on Instagram and noticed there were no pictures from Texas. I took care of that by posting many Texas outdoor pictures and tagging them! They reached out and asked me to be an Ambassador for Texas. I quickly said “YES,” and five years ago on Hispanic Heritage Month, I became part of their familia.
This journey has been so amazing for me, my family, and the community. My first few events were family and friends. The Latino Outdoors – Southwest following has grown to include over a few thousand followers on our Facebook page and continues to grow daily.
Latino Outdoors has a mission to inspire, connect, and engage Latino communities in the outdoors and embrace cultura y familia as part of the outdoor narrative, ensuring our history, heritage, and leadership are valued and represented.
In the last five years, we added some amazing Leaders & Volunteers to help with our outings as they grew to full capacity. Then Covid-19 happened. This did not stop us and just like everyone else, we went virtual. We are unable to host any events at this time but are adapting to the change and as the new saying goes, we are #TogetherApart.
Let’s go outdoors #TogetherApart in a social distance-friendly way and build community across the distance! #TogetherApart is an initiative that invites the community to get outside independently, in ways that are safe while group outings are on pause. For these independent outings, Latino Outdoors encourages supporters to Recreate Responsibly and follow proper guidelines. In addition, Latino Outdoors has created a #StayHome resource library that encourages outdoor activity and inclusion.
Personally, I learned how to walk afuera (outside) in my abuela’s yard and played outside until my mom said it was too dark. The outdoors was my playground but not necessarily the parks. My first visit to a State Park was when I was twenty and that moment of stepping into that space still makes my soul smile. It’s a world I never knew existed, but one I knew I needed.
I loved it so much I wanted my family and friends along for the journey. So I took them! Gracias todos y mucho amor y abrazos. Until we can all be together juntos.
Blog post written by Josie Gutierrez, Ambassador for Latino Outdoors – Southwest.