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Help me to fund a National Geographic Photo Camp for Arizona kids to tell their stories about life on US/Mexico border through images
204 backers pledged $21,421 to help bring this project to life.
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US-Mexico Border Fence (Sasabe, Arizona)
US-Mexico Border Fence (Sasabe, Arizona)

Project Introduction 

This proposed photo camp for kids is being co-sponsored by the Undocumented Migration Project, a long-term anthropological study of immigration issues along the US-Mexico border that started in 2009. Our work has focused on fostering student learning about anthropology, archaeology, immigration, and human rights issues along the border. Much of our work has taken place in and around the tiny Arizona community of Arivaca , which is located just 12 miles north of the US/Mexico border. 

Map showing location of Arivaca, Arizona
Map showing location of Arivaca, Arizona

As part of a new community outreach program, the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP) has teamed up with the Arivaca Action Center, Inc. , a 501c3 non profit organization, whose mission is to create a space offering opportunities which enhance rural life. Our plan is to implement a free 5-day photography workshop in Arivaca for students (aged 13 through 18) in June 2014. This tuition-free program is open to students residing in Arivaca, as well as other surrounding rural border communities including Nogales, Sasabe, Three Points, Amado, and communities on the Tohono O'odham Reservation.

As part of the five day project, students will camp in Arivaca and have the opportunity to work with high quality digital cameras. They will spend five days being taught the basics of photography from a group of National Geographic photographers and editors, learning to tell their stories through the camera’s lens. All student expenses will be covered by the photo camp. This Photo Camp is sponsored by National Geographic Mission Programs in partnership with Vision Workshops, of Annapolis, Maryland.

 Project Goals 

Our goal is to provide an opportunity for youth in under served southern Arizona border towns to tell their own stories through photography and multimedia, encouraging discussion and insight into the lives of people who live in communities that are directly impacted by undocumented migration and federal border enforcement on a daily basis. 

Newspaper story about young people living along the Arizona-Mexico border
Newspaper story about young people living along the Arizona-Mexico border

We hope to give a voice to our students who come from a diverse range of ethnic and class backgrounds, fostering discussions of their perspectives on complex issues related to the immigration debate in this country. Border communities such as Arivaca are often misrepresented by outside popular media during discussions of immigration and border security, despite the fact that they are they the ones who are most directly impacted by policies. Through this photo camp we seek to provide young people raised in border communities the rare chance to present an image of themselves to the public that is not filtered by the news agencies or dominated by outsider perspectives that are invested in painting the border as dangerous. Arivaca and neighboring communities are vibrant and ethnically diverse places that have an up-close perspective on what the issues of immigration and border enforcement really look like. 

Because many border communities are rural and unincorporated, one of the major issues currently facing places like Arivaca is finding support for social and educational programs focused on local youth. This project seeks to empower local youth to be able to show the outside world what it is like to grow up in such unique cultural and political environments. This photo camp will be carried out with the logistical support of the Arivaca Action Center, which has five focus areas: Education, Wellness, Hospitality, the Arts and Sustainability. Their 5000 square foot facility sits on ten acres and currently operates an ADHS licensed early learning center, a fitness and massage therapy studio, an organic gardening project, two guest rooms, a computer lab and both indoor and outdoor space available for a variety of community activities. There is strong interest from the Arivaca community in developing and supporting local educational opportunities for middle school and high school youth who may not have the types of opportunities which are more accessible in urban settings. 

The Arivaca Action Center will support the photo camp by assisting with administration and personnel, as well as providing physical infrastructure including kitchen, restrooms, staff accommodations, camping space, computer/printer, display space and much enthusiasm in support of this creative and evocative adventure. 

 Logistical Support and Training (aka Why we need your help!) 

We have received partial support for our photo camp from National Geographic Photo Camp who will provide us with photography instructors, equipment, and over 10 years experience teaching photography workshops for youth from underserved communities worldwide. While this outside support, training, and equipment is crucial to our mission, it does not cover all costs associated with this project. 

In order to make this photo camp available to underserved students, the Undocumented Migration Project and the Arivaca Action Center have been charged with raising funds to cover on the ground expenses including (but not limited to) food, board, and transportation for students and staff, some field equipment, insurance, and other items. In order for this project to succeed, we need to raise at least $20,000. 

Your tax deductible donation will go directly towards covering the cost of providing underserved students with an incredibly rare educational opportunity -- one that will also help the public understand the important stories of this border community through the eyes of its young people. This story is one that is important to us all, as we seek to understand immigration issues within a deeper, more meaningful context. 

Risks and challenges

The biggest challenge that we face (outside of fundraising) is guaranteeing that all students receive the attention and educational support necessary to successfully learn the basics of photography and tell their personal stories through this medium in five days.

The Undocumented Migration Project has been running educational programs for college students in this part of Arizona for over five years. During this time, we have learned a great deal about how to successfully conduct field work in the Arizona desert in the middle of the summer and we have also fostered a positive relationship with the community of Arivaca and the Arivaca Action Center. Additionally, we have a seasoned roster of Ph.D. and undergraduate and graduate student instructors who have spent several years working and teaching in the area.

National Geographic Photo Camp is a series of photography workshops for youth from underserved regions of the United States and around the world. Photo Camp inspires young people to explore their communities through the camera's lens, and to share their vision through public presentations and exhibitions worldwide. National Geographic Photo Camp has completed over 60 Photo Camps, from refugee settlements in Uganda and Jordan, to Native American reservations in Taos, NM and inner city neighborhoods in New York and Miami. The many years of experience that our NatGeo Photo Camp instructors have been working with kids in this type of learning environment will help guarantee that all students receive the best possible training and support.

To assist us in running this camp for kids, we have also brought together a large staff of local educators and parents who have volunteered to help us with the day to day logistics of running a camp and supervising minors. Many of these volunteers have their own children participating in the camp and they will no doubt provide important support to keep things running smoothly. In addition, the Arivaca Action Center is staffed by a veteran team of educators who will be working along side the photography instructors. Finally, we anticipate having close to a one to one student to staff ratio for the duration of the photo camp, which will guarantee that the students get a significant amount of individualized training and supervision.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1 or more About US$ 1

    You will receive our deepest gratitude and a free high five from any anyone associated with the Undocumented Migration Project or the Arivaca Action Center should you meet them on the street.

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    We will thank you personally on our Twitter feed.

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    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    You will be included in the permanent list of supporters on our website. We will also thank you personally on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.

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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    You will receive a personalized thank you video from one of our student participants via email and Vine. You will also get access to a special online gallery of sample student photos and your name will be included in the permanent list of supporters on our website. In addition, we will thank you personally on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.

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    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    You will receive an autographed 8x10 glossy photo taken by a student photographer plus everything from the $25 pledge tier.

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    27 backers
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    Pledge US$ 75 or more About US$ 75

    You will receive an official UMP photo camp t-shirt in the size of your choice plus everything from the $50 pledge tier.

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    19 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 75 or more About US$ 75

    You will receive a 12 month color desk calendar featuring student photos plus everything from the $50 pledge tier.

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    4 backers
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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    You will receive a 12 month color wall calendar featuring student photos plus everything from the $50 pledge tier.

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    15 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 150 or more About US$ 150

    You will receive a signed copy of a forthcoming book about immigration written by the director of the Undocumented Migration Project (Winter 2015) along with an official UMP photo camp t-shirt in the size of your choice and everything from the $50 pledge tier. The book will ship in late 2015.

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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    This donation level comes with an invitation to the Undocumented Migration Project field school reunion in Arivaca that happens after the photo camp is completed in June of 2014. Donors are invited to spend the weekend camping with staff members of the Undocumented Migration Project in the beautiful Arivaca wildnerness. We will cover your food costs for the weekend and invite you to participate in reunion activities. Donors must pay for transportation to and from Arivaca. Donors must also be pre-approved for invitation. In addition, you will receive everything from the $150 pledge tier.

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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    This donation level comes with a two night stay at the Arivaca Action Center and a day tour of the Arivaca wilderness given by a local. This two night visit must take place on weekend that does not coincide with the Undocumented Migration Project reunion.

    You will also receive an an invitation to the Undocumented Migration Project field school reunion in Arivaca that happens after the photo camp is completed in June of 2014. Donors are invited to spend the weekend camping with staff members of the Undocumented Migration Project in the beautiful Arivaca wildnerness. We will cover your food costs for the weekend and invite you to participate in reunion activities. Donors must pay for transportation to and from Arivaca. Donors must also be pre-approved for invitation. In addition, you will receive everything from the $150 pledge tier.

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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    This donation level comes with a invitation to visit the Undocumented Migration Project when we conduct research in Central Mexico in June/July of 2015. You will get a two day guided tour of our research sites given by our project director Dr. Jason De Leon and an introduction to the many issues surrounding undocumented migration across Mexico. We will cover your room and board for those two days. Donors are responsible for transportation to and from Mexico City.
    You will also receive an an invitation to the Undocumented Migration Project field school reunion in Arivaca that happens after the photo camp is completed in June of 2014. Donors are invited to spend the weekend camping with staff members of the Undocumented Migration Project in the beautiful Arivaca wildnerness. We will cover your food costs for the weekend and invite you to participate in reunion activities. Donors must pay for transportation to and from Arivaca. Donors must also be pre-approved for invitation. In addition, you will receive everything from the $150 pledge tier.

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    Pledge US$ 5,000 or more About US$ 5,000

    You will receive all of the above incentives and we will list you on our t-shirts and promotional items as a major donor. You will also be thanked in the acknowledgments of two forthcoming Undocumented Migration Project books.

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Funding period

- (30 days)