Alaskan Villagers Prepare for Trip of A Lifetime

A school teacher in the Alaskan Bush encourages her k-12 students to dream BIG; planning a field trip to the lower 48. A film crew from Santa Barbara, California will document the historic journey. Please visit this site for frequent updates on their progress.

A Dream Come True

Club 33 was such a treat

Friday, April 29, 2011

Gusty Michael School Prepares For Graduation

Today was the last school day before graduation. We have been shooting two cameras all day and are getting some GREAT footage. We interviewd 8 of the 12 kids and filmed them doing their schoolwork, beading, lunch, basketball, etc. Today for the first time I was asked if I wanted to interview a villager. I hope to do that on Sunday. Tomorrow is graduation.

Thanks for following.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Our Arrival In Stony River Alaska

Wow, what a day! As we flew through the snow covered peaks of the Alaskan Range, past glaciers and volcanoes, we were awestruck, and a bit apprehensive. Moments after our departure, we flew past the last roads that we would see for hundreds of miles. The flight was spectacular, and so was our greeting at the end of the runway in Stony River.

Debi Rubera and two of her students met us in a quad atv with a trailer attached, to cart the three of us, and all of our gear and belongings a few hundred yards to Gusty Michael School in the center of town.

Not certain if we should film or not, we carried our cameras into the school. Branden discovered two students working to make traditional knives called Ulaqs. I was surprised to find the younger children practicing their reading skills behind two desktop computers. A few of the older girls were working on laptops given to the school by apple. They politely told me that they were learning to use imovie (I loved that... an instant connection based on a common technology).

I was struck by the thought that these kids, and this school, were like many others that I have visited across the US. But this location was like no place that I had ever been. So remote, so quiet, so peaceful, so beautiful already in so many ways. Brandon was immediately invited after school to a villager's homesite to film his family as they milled the lumber and worked on their new house.

What a day! What an opportunity! Thank you to all who are supporting this trip and these kids!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Alaska Dreams Travel Far

Today is the day our journey begins...

Actually it began for me about three weeks ago when an email solicitation for funds found its way into my inbox. After reading about Debi Rubera, a school teacher in the Alaskan interior who encouraged her k-12 students to dream big and set their sights on a field trip to the lower 48, I thought to myself "HOW CAN ANYONE NOT HELP THESE KIDS?"

My initial thought was to send funds, but then I too started to dream bigger. I imagined myself growing up in a small remote village, on an island in the middle of the wilderness, with limited access to resources, and even less opportunity to break out of the isolated life that I was accustomed to. I thought about the courage it must take to dream big under these circumstances. I felt inspired by the story of these children, and reminded that the process of making dreams come true is the same whether you come from an island in the wilderness, inner city, or suburbs.

Realizing a dream come true involves first believing that it can come true. Then comes hard work and perseverance, overcoming adversity, more hard work, and often a helping hand or two.

It turns out that my way to help is to produce a film about Stony River Alaska and the transformation that is happening there RIGHT NOW as these Alaskan villagers prepare to send their children on the "trip of a lifetime." I am hopeful that this will become "Opportunity For a Lifetime" for these kids and others that they touch with their incredible story.

Special thanks go out today to Cox Communications, Alaska Airlines, and Planet Solar who have sponsored the film and enabled me and my dedicated film crew to travel to Anchorage today, and on to Stony River Alaska tomorrow.