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Daniel Camacho Venegas was born and raised in Sayulita, his family being one of the original families to settle here. As a child, he was actively involved in his elementary school, serving as an interpreter, as he was the only one who spoke English. From middle school through University, he was the president of the student council. So, it’s no surprise that Daniel is currently serving in a leadership role for the group JXMP (Together For Our Town).
How did you get involved with JXMP?
About five months ago, I was with a group of friends and we decided we wanted to do something as youth for Sayulita. We knew we needed to give back and do something good for society, and that’s how JXMP was formed. What started out as a small group of youth has grown and now includes approximately 30 Mexicans and expats of all ages.
How does JXMP make a difference in Sayulita?
Well, there are many different organizations that make a positive change in Sayulita, but the sad part is that most of the organizations are all made up of people from outside of Mexico. It’s sad that very few locals get involved. There have been some groups in the past, but they either failed or didn’t leave a legacy, and that’s what we’re trying to do. We want to get Mexican locals to do good for their community. We have so much potential, but people don’t always see it.
What motivates you to continue to try to make a positive impact in Sayulita?
It’s my town and I want to see Sayulita grow in a way that the environment, the culture, and society aren’t as affected by the principles of growth. I’d like the media to say Sayulita is a wonderful place and have nothing but good things to say about it. That’s where JXMP kicks in – that’s what we want to accomplish.
What changes do you want to see brought about by JXMP?
I’d like to see positive changes in the issues that Sayulita faces – trash, traffic, environmental sustainability, drugs, and anything that involves crime. Whenever someone seeks me out for help, I try to help out in whatever way I can.
What role do you play in JXMP?
I’m the voice- I represent the group and I coordinate activities. It’s a responsibility title, but I don’t like to be called the leader. I like to be called the voice. I’m lucky that the group trusts me, as well as what I have to say.
What have you gained from your involvement with JXMP?
Experience. I’ve learned new things- how to be patient, how to trust more. It’s not the first project I’ve built on a social level. I’ve always been good with leadership and team building. But, this is different. This is a group of all ages – not just school-aged people anymore. Everyone in the group wants to contribute to society. I had to take things more serious and be more responsible.
What positive changes have you seen brought about by your efforts? What are you most proud of?
I think right now it’s definitely getting the local people involved. More and more people are texting me that they want to help out. Some people donate funds, some people donate equipment, and others volunteer their time. I’m most proud of what we accomplished over Semana Santa. That is our biggest example of how when you want to do something, people can come together and make it happen. At the time, we were a brand new group. People doubted us, thinking we couldn’t make a difference, that we were just youngsters. And I’m glad to say we proved them wrong.
What additional change(s) would you like to see in the future and what are you doing to make this happen?
I’d like to get more involved in the Sayulita neighborhoods because we’ve been working a lot in the central area, and there’s more to Sayulita than the plaza area. We want to find out how we can help local people and do it, such as assist with infrastructure and streets. We have a couple projects coming up in the neighborhoods that have the worst entrances into them.
How can others help?
Look for me, or any JXMP group member, and approach us at any activity. We can always use volunteers. We could also use donations for equipment and supplies for projects. For example, for trash cleanups we need bags, rakes, and gloves. But, we basically need funds because whatever we need for a particular project, we go out and buy it.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I’m happy because I posted on Facebook the other day that we needed funds for JXMP shirts and a lot of people came through, including Sayulita Life. That is so awesome! A big thanks to everyone who tries to make this world, and Sayulita, a better place!