For the past seven years, LandPaths has been making the outdoors more welcoming and accessible to under-represented and under-served populations in our community, especially the Latino families in the Southwest Santa Rosa community of Roseland. Through Vamos Afuera, LandPaths' bilingual outings program, over 500 folks each year--- the young and young at heart-- have paddled the Estero Americano, traversed the beautiful Bohemia Ecological Preserve in Occidental, and camped on local preserves such as Cooley Ranch and Rancho Mark West. For many of the families, these outings were full of "firsts". First time kayaking, first time hiking, first time camping.
While sharing stories around campfires and lunch circles, conversations often turned to Yosemite. Participants said "I've always wanted to go to there", and "It looks amazing in pictures!" This statement was then quickly followed by a "But". But... we don't have the money, we don't have a way to get there, we don't know how to camp, we don't know where to start, we don't want to feel out of place. The "buts" were both varied and abundant, and after many years of our staff hearing these "buts" ...they became deeply motivating.
This Fall, LandPaths will be bringing 60 Vamos Afuera participants to experience the majesty of Yosemite for the first time. Our skilled staff will lead the multi-generational group through trip planning and preparations,provide equipment and transportation, create a safe learning community, and inspire moments of collective joy through shared activities and meals while held in Yosemite's great valley. Perhaps most importantly, our staff will be familiar faces and trusted allies for these participants as they take giant steps out of their comfort zones, and into this grand, new adventure.