Outdoor Leaders Who Inspire Us: Trail Mixed Collective
We recently talked with a few groups we admire, including Quena Batres and Liselle Pires of Trail Mixed Collective, to learn more about how they are building better futures for their communities.
At WTA, we are constantly inspired by the organizations doing powerful work to create a brighter and more inclusive future for the outdoor community. We recently talked with a few groups we admire, including Quena Batres and Liselle Pires of Trail Mixed Collective, to learn more about how they are building better futures for their communities.
Can you tell us about Trail Mixed’s mission?
The mission of Trail Mixed is to increase access to outdoor activities for women of color. We believe that approaching new outdoor activities and later, advancing at them, relies on a few things: inspiration from people we can relate to, access to education and gear, safe community spaces and motivation and guidance from mentors who care. The outdoors is for everyone, and our goal is to help create safe spaces to learn, grow, bond and excel for women of color.
What inspired you to start your organization?
We met on a 3-day backpacking trip and instantly connected over shared experiences in the outdoors, including the challenges and barriers we had each faced when it came to the outdoors — from lack of mentorship from other women of color, to how it feels when you’re the only woman of color in a course, to experiences with discrimination and racism. These conversations led to the idea for a community initiative to change the outdoor culture and increase representation.
Why is this work so important?
Women of color have been historically excluded from a lot of outdoor spaces and conversations. Because of that, we often tell ourselves that the outdoors are not for us, or if we do find our way into a new outdoor interest, it is often lacking in other women of color. What we hear super often is, “I wish this kind of group existed when I started (insert outdoor activity).” Community is at the core of it all. We aim to make it easier to start a new activity, by offering scholarships, subsidized courses and gear. That lets folks put their energy into building community connections.
What should people know about your work?
We’re small but mighty! We cover a variety of activities — from mountain biking to bird watching to mountaineering. Relationships with mission-aligned brand partners help power our work. These relationships have opened doors to conversations about why groups like Trail Mixed exist. We’re always looking to build new relationships. We are also always looking for women of color storytellers, event leaders and volunteers to help advance our mission.
How do you uplift the communities you serve?
From day one, Trail Mixed has always been by women of color, for women of color. Everything we do is centered around empowering women of color and uplifting their voices. Through our events, we hope folks feel empowered to pass on what they learned to help build more women of color leaders.
How does Trail Mixed serve as a leader?
We don’t see many groups that focus on mentorship in an informal, approachable way like we do. We offer a way to connect women-of-color mentors and mentees based on their aligned interests through our mentorship platform on our website.
Are there any projects you’re really excited about right now?
In March, we launched our Community Leader Program in Washington and Oregon. We have 11 community leaders across both states who are each responsible for leading five events over the next year. We’re also excited to offer our second-annual intro to mountaineering course on Mount Baker and women-of-color running retreat in the North Cascades, both this summer.
Learn more about Trail Mixed Collective at trailmixedcollective.com or on Instagram @trailmixedco.