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Here’s the Wild Idea

Outdoor Outreach’s Wild Idea: To help transform the lives of young adults by introducing them to the power of the outdoors.

If you’re a regular listener to this show, you’ve probably tasted the power of the outdoors. I remember my first time standing on a wave. You may remember your first time carving through powdery snow, your first long hike, or your first time camping under the stars. Chances are, these experiences impacted you in a major way.

Today I talk with four young adults who have been part of Outdoor Outreach, a nonprofit from San Diego that takes kids who might not have otherwise had access to the wonders of nature, on outdoor adventures like snowboarding, rock climbing, snorkeling, hiking, and more.

Miriam Pi, Meli Perez Valdez, Lawrence Vallejos, and Gaby Jasso grew up with different backgrounds and share how their trips with Outdoor Outreach changed the path of their life forever. We talk about why they are now leading trips to get other kids outside, what they are doing to encourage adults and people in power to make the outdoors more accessible for all, and how the outdoors is so powerful. With one of these young adults being a DACA recipient, another a former refugee, and the others with diverse backgrounds, their stories are not only timely, but important.

Presented by REI

Listen to this Episode if

  • You are passionate about being outside.
  • You want more youth to experience nature and the power of the outdoors.
  • You had a rough childhood.
  • You have been impacted by the outdoors.

Key Takeaways

  • 2:50 – Miriam Pi’s childhood in Burma and India.
  • 3:50 – Miriam grew up not seeing herself represented in outdoor magazines or adventure brochures.
  • 5:00 – Miriam’s first experience kayaking and doing SUP.
  • 6:00 – The impact the outdoors have had on Miriam’s life.
  • 8:55 – Meet Gabby Jasso and learn about her upbringing in San Diego.
  • 10:40 – How Gabby got involved with Outdoor Outreach.
  • 12:20 – Why Gabby loves rock climbing.
  • 15:30 – Gabby’s struggles with depression and anxiety and how singing helps.
  • 17:20 – Gabby’s advice to get outside.
  • 19:30 – Meet Lawrence Vallejos and find out what obstacles kept him from getting outside.
  • 20:30 – Why surfing provides an escape for Lawrence.
  • 22:30 – Lawrence is now an outdoor instructor.
  • 24:45 – How Lawrence has become an activist to get people outside.
  • 26:00 – Meet Meli Perez Valdez, a DACA recipient.
  • 27:00 – The effect of the DACA repeal on people like Meli.
  • 28:40 – How Meli got involved in the outdoors and how’s she’s pursuing her passion for the ocean.
  • 31:40 – What people can to do help DACA recipients.

Because no matter your age, a life outside is a life well lived. Check out some of REI’s outdoor classes available near you.

Connect with Outdoor Outreach



Ocean Blue
REI’s Force Of Nature Fund
Listen to the first episode with Steph Jagger who happens to be married to Chris Rutgers, the founder of Outdoor Outreach



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