Q: How do you define your community?

A: My community is diverse, passionate, and inclusive of all identities and abilities in the outdoors. We lift each other up and embrace each other's differences. We are proud of our many different heritages and backgrounds and like to share our cultures with others.

Q: Why outside? Why do you go?

A: It’s in my roots to want to have a relationship with the natural world. My ancestors lived off the land. They were farmers, ranchers, gardeners, and nature people. It only makes sense that I continue that tradition. From a young age, my parents allowed me to be curious and let me roam around the woods we had near our house. We would build forts and take long walks. It was freedom for me.

Q: What’s your favorite anecdote or story from your time in the outdoors? 

A: I drove up to hang out with my little brother in Chattanooga and we headed to our favorite swimming hole, called the Blue Hole. We spent the entire morning hanging out and jumping off the big rock into the clear blue-green water below. Then, I took him to some of the spots that I used to swim at when I was in high school. I had a beautiful time exploring my hometown swimming spots with him.

Q: Why do you love what you do outside?

A: I developed a relationship with the outdoors when I was so young that it just became a part of me. I’ve learned about myself, my history, and the world through nature. I’ve gained so much from my time spent outside and that’s something I want others to experience. I love seeing people connect with nature and see how their eyes light up when they are outside.

Q: What do you see as the roadblocks for inclusion outdoors? 

A: Access to quality gear and outdoor spaces. Having to prioritize work over play. People not feeling safe or comfortable outdoors. People being gatekeepers of outdoor spaces and not allowing everyone to feel welcome. Not having the funds to purchase the gear for an outdoor activity or the knowledge or experience of the outdoors.

Q: How can we, as a community, break those barriers down?

A: Donate gear and money to organizations already working in outdoor Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (JEDI) spaces. Diversify your workforce to make outdoor spaces accessible for all abilities. Work with affinity groups to learn and understand the barriers that each community faces because each community has their own struggles. Diversify your friend group and invite your new friends to participate in an outdoor sport. Donate to organizations that are already working in the JEDI space. Show up for your Black and brown friends to make sure they feel safe and comfortable when in the outdoors.

Q: What cause or organization do you support?

A: I am the co-founder and experiential trip leader for Latinxhikers, a grassroots organization that promotes justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in the outdoors through community outreach and digital storytelling. I manage the social media, plan and execute the events, lead hikes, build relationships with brands and organizations, and collaborate with other grassroots and nonprofits.

Q: Why the Coleman® Collective?

A: My first memories in the outdoors involved Coleman products like our tent, stove, and camp chairs. I love what the Collective represents, and that Coleman is all about accessibility for everyone.