What is VOP
VOP (Vamos Outside Project) is inspired by a mother taking her sons to the top of Sauk Mountain as toddlers, to the alpine meadows, rivers and peaks of the Cascades as teenagers. It is a Spanish teacher realizing that the outdoors make for an ideal immersive classroom. It is an English teacher in Spain working with Moroccan immigrants in a public school wishing he could share a place as beautiful as Whatcom County through his teaching. It is a young man traveling through South America realizing that language is a key that opens doors to mountains, valleys, and rainforests across the world. It is a group of friends standing on the highest point in North America realizing that the reason they are there is because of the desire to find personal growth through engaging experiences in nature. We work to bridge culture and language barriers through access to Environmental Education. We want the youth we serve to draw upon transformative experiences as they grow to love their bodies, their culture, their communities, and their landscapes.
Meet the Founder
Andy Basabe was born and raised in Whatcom County. Despite traveling extensively throughout the Spanish speaking world, he can't seem to find anywhere he would rather call home than Bellingham. Andy is a trained language teacher, and has found his passion combining the immersive element of language education with the immersion of the natural classroom. Vamos Outdoors Project is an opportunity for Andy to share his joy of natural and cultural discovery with the communities in his own backyard. Climbing, cycling, backpacking and being a weary traveler at a new dinner table are some of Andy's favorite memories.
Their Mission Statement
Vamos Outdoors Project works to connect communities to environmental education opportunities through fundraising, outreach, and partnerships with local educational organizations. We primarily work with the Latinx and ELL community, focusing on groups that can find language and culture exchange opportunities to build a sense of place within their ecosystem. VOP provides scholarships to local youth. Working in co-operation with Family Liaison committee at the Bellingham School District and the families at Sterling Meadows, we reach out to youth who will benefit from these experiences, and cover their tuition to participate in environmental education programming. We send our scholarship recipients on trips with Vamos Education, a local bi-lingual environmental education organization, and are working with VITAL Climbing Gym to provide Spanish speaking youth with access to the climbing gym.