Ruben Rodriguez Jr. was born in California, and is a descendant of one of the original families to settle in Sayulita. As he has grown up, he has gone back and forth between California and Sayulita, calling both places home. Currently 19 years old, he is one of the founders of JXMP, which stands for Junto Por Mi Pueblo.
How did you get involved with JXMP?
JXMP was formed by myself and a group of our friends, our little crew of kids from Sayulita and around Sayulita, and all different types… college students, high school students, up and coming surf champs, skaters, beach bums, ex/current drug users, musicians, full time workers, etc. The main point here is that were a really diverse group of friends that got along really well. We did normal things in town, such as going to the beach at night, having a couple of drinks, and just discuss everyday life, rumors in town, and the latest gossip as to what is happening and what is going to happen. As I said before, “diverse group,” so we heard about almost everything from kids that lived all the way to Estropajera and El Crucero to the kids that lived a block away from the beach. We started focusing on the more important issues when we started seeing how meth and motorcycles were ruining kids lives in town at such early ages. Everybody came to a conclusion in town that it was just too much after Jose Ruiz got into a motorcycle accident that cost him his life – the kid was 15. So, we set the date, Friday, January 23 at 8pm out at the ranch and from word of mouth, we were able to get about 30-35 kids from town between the ages of 13-25. From that day forward, we would meet every Friday at 8pm at the ranch for a meeting. Every time, more people showed up of all ages. After about a month or less, we decided we would have our first beach cleanup after Festival Sayulita, due to the extra tourists in town. And that was our first official introduction as JXMP to the town.
How does JXMP make a difference in Sayulita?
JXMP makes a difference in Sayulita by showing everyone that it’s possible, and that all you need is to not be lazy, and to unite. JXMP is focused on the issues in town that the government or councils in town should be doing, but aren’t doing, or are doing a horrible job at. This goes from the trash issue in town, sewer, off-road vehicle regulations in town, community/social issues, and transit. We take care of these issues by getting the town to listen to us and inviting them to meet somewhere to discuss the issue as a town and solve it as one.
What motivates you to continue to try to make a positive impact in Sayulita?
It is somewhat fear that motivates me, as I see how much the town is growing, I see more and more problems coming into town. I don’t like that and I fear that if Sayulita continues at this rate with so many tourists coming in and all, the town is going to degrade fast. So, yeah, the fear of Sayulita crashing due to poor management scares me and definitely motivates me to want to eradicate these problems before they become more serious than they really are.
What changes do you want to see brought about by JXMP?
Better the town not only aesthetically, but socially too. I hope that in time, JXMP will be recognized by higher authorities, and support our group, enabling us to complete greater tasks.
What role do you play?
There really aren’t any official names or group positions that we’ve set for everybody in the group. But, I would consider myself to be vice president next to my bro, Daniel Camacho, who in my view is the president of the group. As of now, I’m not in Sayulita as I’m in California for a couple more months, but I am sure Daniel found someone to fill in the “position.” haha
What have you gained from your involvement with JXMP?
One of the best things I’ve experienced ever was seeing how a group of my friends could get the town to listen to us, and with their help be able to turn a chaotic time (Semana Santa) into a controlled situation. I for sure grew closer to everybody in the group because of all the time we were spending together and have built really great friendships. I got to see an idea, our idea, work.
What positive changes have you seen brought about by your efforts? What are you most proud of?
The most positive change I am most definitely proud of has to be Semana Santa. We were able to get the town to cooperate and with the help of several volunteers from town, municipal government, and city council, we were able to build a 10-day program. This included a traffic route to make traffic run smoothly through town and a trash/beach plan, which involved picking up all the trash at the beginning and the end of the day.
What additional change(s) would you like to see in the future and what are you doing to make this happen?
We would like to be involved more with the town and tackle great issues, such as creating an efficient trash route and a standard and year-round traffic circuit. To make this happen, we are trying to grow enough to be recognized by higher authorities and be given the support we need. We also do things, such as bake sales, lemonade stands, asking for donations door-to-door, and through our sponsors.
How can others help?
Others can help by donating whatever is it they have. Not necessarily money, but also things like shovels, flashlights, ropes, paint, brushes, brooms, tools, and preferably, time. Check us out on our JXMP Facebook page – You can message us there!