“And Volcan is my mountain”

Kids with Cameras was a wildly successful afterschool photography class that was offered by the Garden Club and partner organizations last fall.  This past week we launched Kids with Cameras 2.0 Spring Semester.  One of the program founders, Jeff Holt gave the first lecture on frame, focus, format, and then the kids headed out to the garden to practice.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Holt

This program has been successful on many levels, and in ways we couldn’t have expected.  Here is but one example.  One of the program partners is the Volcan Mountain Foundation whose mission is to preserve Volcan Mountain for future generations through the conservation and acquisition of land, practice of respectful stewardship, environmental education, public outreach, and resource management.  Every year they hold a dinner/dance fundraiser, and this past winter they decided to make Kids with Cameras the theme for the event, to emphasize the child/nature connection that falls within their mission.

Cue my friends: Allison, Kathy, Rita, Dana and Jeff.  Look at the decorations they came up with–as I said in my remarks that night “all locally sourced and lovingly assembled.”

From the imagination of Allison---film looped around natural elements with children's photographs

(Photo courtesy of Chris Elisara)

My friends made this from thin air---grand arrangements to match the centerpieces, with local foliage accented with turkey feathers and vintage cameras (Photo courtesy of Chris Elisara)

The mantel is decorated with an enlarged photo of kids on the mountain, local greenery and flowers, and antique cameras. Enlarged photos from the photography fieldtrip were hung in the dining room and auction venue.

Children's photography was for sale during the silent auction--all proceeds benefitting the work of Volcan Mountain Foundation

Additionally, my son was one of two kids asked to make a short speech.  It is reprinted below.  Watching him deliver this speech, and hearing/watching the room respond, was a highlight of highlights living here in Julian.

Good evening ladies and gentlemen.  My name is Ethan Elisara.  My father is Chris Elisara who was born and raised in New Zealand.  In New Zealand, the native people who are called the Maori, introduce themselves by saying their name as well as a geographic feature they identify with, such as a river, an ocean or a mountain.  So as a half-Kiwi I would introduce myself to you saying:  Ko Ethan ahau. Ko Volcan te maunga OR  I am Ethan and Volcan is my mountain.

Growing up in Julian I have lived in two houses.  Both of them have faced Volcan Mountain.  The view of Volcan has been a backdrop for my childhood.  I see it when I wake up in the morning, from the playground at school and even from the mountain bike track that I bike twice a week.

Kids with cameras gave me the opportunity to explore the mountain more closely.  With my camera in hand, I studied the landscape.  I noticed shadows and examined trees.  I waited for the perfect moment when cottontail fluff blew across the viewfinder.  With our instructors we conversed about the light, we talked about the rule of thirds, we scrambled over rocks and tore across meadows.  At the end, we had hot chocolate and reflected on the day. 

Thanks for being here tonight and preserving my mountain.  Kia Ora and good evening.

7 thoughts on ““And Volcan is my mountain”

  1. Yup, goosebumps and choked up all over again at Ethan’s now famous line! It was an event that highlighted the very best of our little town and validated our reasons for moving here.

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