Teri’s Update – July 2016
by Adam / Jul 13, 2016
Hello BFI Fans!
It’s July. In three months, I will no longer be the Executive Director of BFI. How does it feel? GREAT! No, wait! SAD! But sort of exciting. And everything else. Change is good for humans and organizations and while I plan to lurk in the hallways doing interesting things like helping with this writing club, conceptualizing that workshop, or tapping into my photographic memory as it relates to the history of BFI, I might lie low at first—hanging out at our farm, working on a writing project I’ve been dreaming of for literally years, practicing tennis at the Chimicum High School courts (weather permitting). Mainly I want to pay attention to possibilities.
Life will go on at BFI in new and exciting ways as created by our current collection of whipsmart staff members. But before I speak more about this whipsmart staff, allow me to take a moment to honor the winners of this year’s BFIdol, our annual talent show featuring BFI students, tutors, and staff who compete with an endless variety of talents with the dream of having the chance to wear the coveted BFIdol Sash of Honor. We had BFI student Miles perform his moving rendition of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “My Shot” and fellow student Spencer playing the Star Wars theme on his harp. BFI staffer Claire wowed us with her cricket impersonation (along with personally-drawn visual aide) and BFI student Otis showed us how to fold a paper airplane and fly it. But the winners, hands down, were… (drum roll, please):
- BFI student Tselot singing her original composition “Stage Fright” acapella into a microphone (despite her titular stage fright!), and
- BFI program manager Joe (with help from his friends) singing an original tribute to our beloved youth mentor Haddy who just graduated from Ingraham High School.
It was a moving event that packed the Community Hall at Phinney Neighborhood Association with talent and I wish you all could’ve been there.
Speaking of places I wish you all could’ve been, last month also brought our 2016 staff retreat, which took place one sunny afternoon at my Olympic Peninsula farm. Of course no self-respecting staff retreat would be complete without students (they’re what we’re all about!) and why not throw in a few parents since we are a family in our own oddball way? Well, that’s just what we did when the entire staff plus 10 kids and a handful of parents came to the Olympic Peninsula for hiking, chicken-naming, and field games. Our primary goal was to hang out together and have fun, both of which were done in full.
Back to whipsmart staff members: We’ve had our usual summer jiggling around of job titles and staff members and here’s what you need to know:
Ramon Esquivel is back and now (finally) a staff member. He has been a volunteer workshop leader and board member for years while he taught middle school at Lakeside. Now, fresh from graduate school where he studied creative writing, he has joined our staff as a Programs Manager. Lucky us.
Speaking of luck, Faith Eakins will also be joining our programming team. We have stolen her from Queen Anne Elementary where she was teaching a 1st/2nd grade class. We would have a picture of her here except she is currently visiting Thailand where she formerly served in the Peace Corps. (In lieu of a headshot, Faith sent us this pic of the BFI publication she's taken with her, photographed next to an evidential Thai license plate!) Faith is smart about education, an intrepid traveler, and serious about making the world a better place. In other words, she fits right in around here.
Speaking of the Peace Corps, did you know our Operations Manager Casey McGee—who also just morphed into our Volunteer Coordinator—was in the Peace Corps in the Ukraine before getting his masters in nonprofit management? I’m telling you, we are oozing with qualified folks around here.
And perhaps you're wondering: Wasn’t David Schmader our Creative Director and Volunteer Coordinator? Yes, but here’s the deal: The post of Creative Director in a place as creative as BFI has proven to be a full-time job. Demonstrating our usual flare for flexibility and our desire to never have the same org chart two years in a row, Dave is now the FULL-TIME Creative Director. Every time you marvel at some witticism, love our window display, crack up at a store label, or fall in love with one of our books, if you dusted for fingerprints, Dave’s would be all over them.
Above is just a sampling of the extraordinary folks who work for us.
Moving along: Summer Workshops are p-a-c-k-e-d and rolling along beautifully at the Phinney Neighborhood Association. So far students have donned magic glasses to confront their fears (and wrote about it) and written songs with gifted luminary musicians Eric Anderson (Cataldo), Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie), and Claire England (Dude York) with special guest star John Roderick (Long Winters). (If you’d like to enjoy the musical fruits of the Songwriting Club—including such soon-to-be-well-known songs as “I Have a Fat Cat” and “It’s Hard to Make Friends”—follow this Soundcloud link.) Summer workshops continue through the end of July, with students writing and performing plays, crafting adventure stories, and taking a field trip to Ken's Market to observe fresh vegetables and write poems in their honor.
And while summer workshops are functioning out of our temporary site at PNA, we have started to move back into our Greenwood Avenue headquarters! We have new paint (please come see our stylish “Wrought Iron” wall), a new floor (which could be described as “Log Cabin Shabby Chic”), a whole new storefront with double-paned windows, and (drum roll) an HVAC system that means our new/old space will be cool in the summer and warm in the winter! And no one, and I mean no one, will ever again have to raise his or her voice to be heard over the antique Reznor heater.
Sneak Peek: This October brings the return and reinvention of our ever-popular dance marathon, freshly relocated to autumn and with an exciting new component called KARAOKE, making it a night for both dancing your cash off AND singing your cash off! Such a change begs for an upgraded name, so mark your calendar for October 14 and get ready for DYCO 2: Electric Karaoke Boogaloo! Stay tuned for details on how to form your team, tune your voice, do some fundraising, and unite your backup singers. We'll have tips for all.
P.S. One more thing: Thanks to one big explosion and several thousand tiny mold spores, we need a new refrigerator. But it doesn’t have to be a new-new refrigerator! We just need one that works well and has a good seal. If you have a line on a good (free) refrigerator that’s up for grabs, let me know.