Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2016 - (Page 31)

BENITEZ ON EVEREST "Si, Abuelita, I never forget your wishes." BY 2045, THIS COUNTRY WILL BE OVER 35 PERCENT LATINO/HISPANIC, AND ATTHAT POINT, OVER 50 PERCENT OFALL CHILDREN WILL BE FROM A LATINO/ HISPANIC FAMILY. VOICE Beyond the Baggage Courtesy Luis Benitez Latino/Hispanics may just have a more inclusive view of how to enjoy the outdoors. And as the Hispanic population in the U.S. surges, outdoor retailers would be wise to join in. by Luis Benitez Oh, mi nieto! ¿Por qué tiene que ir a las montañas? ¿Por qué haces esto a mí y hacer que me preocupe tanto de ti? Voy a decir oraciones cada mañana y cada noche y te sugiero que hagas lo mismo! "Oh, my grandson! Why do you have to go to the mountains? Why are you doing this to me and make me worry so much about you? I'll say prayers every morning and every night, and I suggest you do the same!" My Abuelita, my grandmother, said this to me before every climbing trip-tales of woe, of not understanding the pull of the high mountains that surrounded Quito, Ecuador, where my father's family has lived for seven generations. My grandmother made me promise, for certain, that I carry my rosary on every trip, and not only on the trip but on my person for every climb. (Having it just in my backpack was not acceptable). She knew the mountains around Quito and that Cayambe had a statue of the Virgin Mary just above the hut, and she made me swear that on every trip up I would go and say a little prayer for protection and for returning safely while on the way down. Imagine as a young mountain guide having to explain to clients that I needed to pause for a minute and go visit a statue "just over there" because "my grandmother told me to." THIS CULTURAL IDENTITY, THIS "BAGGAGE" is something most Latinos and Hispanics (see page 32 to better understand these terms) often struggle to define in the outdoor community. I believe it comes from thinking differently about the nature of our relationship with the outdoors. Also, the fact that we pack different food, and we didn't have any heroes to look up to that looked like us with names like ours set us apart. (Ever hear of Ivan Vallejo? Don't feel bad, most people haven't.) I don't believe you have to understand what makes us different to embrace where our cultures and communities can continue to come together. We have the capacity to connect the dots, and I think it is important that we do so. For instance, did you know that on average the new Latino/Hispanic outdoorist recreates not solo, and not with just one partner, but often with a significant portion of the family? The wilderness is seen as a vacation, a place to celebrate, as much as to recreate. Established campsites that service two to four people are insufficient; it's that rarely used group campsite that's seeing more and more traffic by families wanting to share the experience. Moral of the story? Even if grandma disapproves of the outdoors, families are starting to bring her along for a night under the stars. The recreational opportunities that surround those campsites are becoming the gateway portals for understanding how we interact with nature. Day hikes, once seen only through a lens of "for tourists only," are becoming more and more how we engage and embrace what's possible out there. After which, we return to the campsite and the celebration. In this magical space there is a significant opportunity. By 2045, this country will be over 35 percent Latino/Hispanic, and at that point, over 50 percent of all children will be from a Latino/Hispanic family. Shouldn't companies start focusing on making gear for them? We now have people to look up to that are helping to define what not only diversity can do for an industry, but also what it can do for a community. From Jose Gonzalez with Latino Outdoors, to Irene Vilar-Grandbois with the Latino Eco Festival. From Juan Martinez from the Children in Nature network to Deanne Buck with the Outdoor Industries Women Coalition, we are redefining who we consider heroes and what they look like. What has long been defined as baggage has the capacity to become magical for all of us. -A guide who has summited Everest six times, Luis Benitez is the first-ever Director of the Colorado Recreation Industry Office. Summer 2016 / OUTDOOR RETAILER 31

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2016

Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2016
The Pulse
Nitty Gritty
Case Study
Big Picture
Global Perspective
The Voice
Thom Hill
Brian Jones
National Parks
Half-Moon Outfitters
Mountain Crossings
Standup Paddleboards
Know Your Customer
Yoga Pants
Up Front
The View
How I Got Here
From the Road

Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2016