One student is working to connect indigenous-migrant children with the same outdoor adventures she had growing up.

In 2016, Recreation, parks and tourism administration junior Karen Ramos started Get Out, Stay Out, a non-profit that gives kids the opportunity to run, play, and discover themselves outdoors through hikes, camping trips and multi-day backpacking adventures.

“I had all of these opportunities when I was younger to get outside in a formal sense and get to hike, backpack, canoe and more. I loved these experiences,” Ramos said. “I just noticed that my instructors throughout all of those experiences never quite reflected who I was and the culture I identified with.”

Adventurers swim at a pond on Red Rock Trail in Los Padres National Forrest. Karen Ramos | Courtesy

After taking some time away from college, Ramos found herself in her hometown of Santa Maria working a job in children’s education. After a long day of work, she decided to go out hiking.

While taking in the freshly green vegetation from a day of rain, she started to reflect on how much she loved the kids she worked with and the outdoors. She decided to combine these two worlds by taking some of the kids out on a hike.

“There isn’t a word for hiking in Spanish that is precise like hiking, so I pretty much asked all these parents if I could take their kids walking through some fields,” Ramos said. “I was worried they all would be concerned and say no, but surprisingly, they all agreed and signed the slips.”

“I was worried they all would be concerned and say no, but surprisingly, they all agreed and signed the slips”

After putting some pictures of the hike online, more and more people became interested in what Ramos was doing. She soon had to get some of her friends to help her out with the kids, and the operation has been growing ever since.

On top of running Get Out, Stay Out, Ramos also promotes positive change in the outdoor community by attending industry conferences.

She recently flew to Jacksonhole, Wyoming to take part in the Shaping How We Invest For Tomorrow (SHIFT) festival put on by The Center for Jackson Hole organization. The goal of this year’s conference was to take a holistic look at the health of Americans and how time spent outside can help benefit people’s overall wellbeing, according to their website.

Karen Ramos | Courtesy

Finding time to spend outside and do the things she loves helps keep her happy, Ramos said. But most of all, she said chasing her passions and working toward something she believes in motivates her no matter how busy her calendar may be.

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