My name is Junko Taniguchi and I am honored to be joining the Soul Trak team as Program Coordinator! You may have seen me at a couple Soul Trak events in the last year; I participated in Community Climb Nights, the NOLS Wilderness First Aid certification, and contributed to the Miles for the Soul fundraiser. I was introduced to Soul Trak professionally and personally through my previous position at Patagonia Alexandria. I feel extremely fortunate that I was able to plug into local community organizations like Soul Trak, having recently moved to DC after graduating from Smith College in 2021.
In the Soul Trak programs that I participated in, I recognized an inspiring atmosphere of support and excitement for the outdoors amongst a diverse group of people of color, something that I had rarely experienced in my own outdoor endeavors before. Whether it was climbing at the local crag or gym in college, fly fishing a remote river with my father, or hiking through the California Sierra Nevadas along the John Muir Trail, I had always felt alone in my outdoor pursuits not because of the peaceful solitude of nature, but because of the lack of diversity in the people I saw also enjoying the outdoor spaces. I am excited at the prospect of directly working to fill that gaping hole: to break down barriers to outdoor recreation and make outdoor spaces more accessible.
I hope to carry on the programs that have been established during Soul Trak’s first years, and ultimately help build out programs and models for the future of Soul Trak. I have many ideas for programs and collaborations, and I look forward to developing those into potential programs. I feel incredibly lucky to be aligned with people who hold the same values and who are actively working towards that vision of a world in which everyone has access and agency to recreate outdoors and foster environmental stewardship. I look forward to working with you!
Program Coordinator, Soul Trak Outdoors