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Scrapbook: Sierra Club, BLM Launch Latino Youth Outings Project

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June 09, 2010

Sierra Club, BLM Launch Latino Youth Outings Project


Latino students from inner-city Philadelphia participated in a weekend-long outing this spring to the Meadowood Recreation Area in northern Virginia, part of a partnership between the Sierra Club and the Bureau of Land Management to launch the Latino Youth Outings Project.

Isabel Long (holding baby, above, and at left, below), the Sierra Club's National Representative for Latino Partnerships, joined Alvarez Dixon of the Club's Inner City Outings program in Baltimore, Virginia Chapter volunteer Paul Elliott, and Roger Rivera of the National Hispanic Environmental Council in leading the trip.


Students fished, hiked, camped, canoed, gardened, and planted a tree at the end of the weekend. That's Long, below, with Juan Palma of the BLM, Paul Eliot of the Virginia Sierra Club, and Richard Royball of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), undaunted by rain while planting a Redbud tree.


"The students were enthusiastic about all the activities," says Baltimore ICO's Dixon, "although the boating and fishing seemed to be the most popular."


One student was afraid of tipping over in the canoe. "I encouraged him to try a row boat, which is more stable, and offered to row with him," says Dixon. "He agreed, we had a wonderful time learning to row, and he overcame his fear."

Students also learned to load fishing lines with bobbins, hooks, and anchors, and how to cast. "Girls and boys alike caught fish and even a couple turtlesall of which they released," Dixon says.


"We had a great outdoor weekend thanks to the Sierra Club people," says Kelly Acuna of LULAC, who went on the trip. "It was amazing for me and for the kids. Ninety percent of the students never had these kinds of experiences before."

Joining LULAC in lending support to the trip were the Washington, D.C., Mayor's Office on Latino Affairs, the Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools, and the George Washington Carver Outdoor School, which organized activities and meals and provided mentorship.

Along with Inner City Outings, the Club's Water Sentinels, Sierra Sportsmen, Building Bridges to the Outdoors, and National Outings programs pitched in to help launch the Latino Youth Outings Project. More trips are planned for June, September, and October.


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