First let us express how incredibly touched we are that you all decided to back our project! We never expected such a strong showing of support so quickly - thank you!! This project is just getting started though, and we are still in need of many things. So please, read on and spread the word.
Once again, thank you so, so much!
- Jeff and Drew
WHAT WE NEED NOW THAT WE'RE FUNDED:
Equipment: Our borrowing luck has yet to pan out so if you have a camera around the Canon 60D range that you've been dying to donate to a cause, now is the time. Same for the right lens-- something versatile like a 17-200mm. We also will need a couple 32 Gb SD cards, any 1Tb + external harddrives, a laptop that can work with the footage a little and as awesome portable tripod.
People with talents: Editors, web designers, those who can make some fancy graphics, logistical savants, and those with good travel contacts-- we need all of it as much as we need funding to make this project happen right.
People on the ground: We really need hand on help once we land and local knowledge and connections can’t be valued enough. This is immensely important. Beyond that, we need information from people who know the area. Even if you don’t live there now-- if you’ve spent time in Bolivia and can offer words of wisdom, advice or simple well wishes, please send them our way!
More funding! Our $4,800 goal is just the cut-rate minimum to get us to La Paz, Bolivia and documenting our mission of installing swings. Everything we make on top of that will only enhance the project and help us bring more swings to more towns across the country. We're ready to work as long as we have funding so please, please help us bring smiles to countless men, women and children by donating generously.
WHO WE ARE:
What started last year as a conversation about the simplistic pleasures of swings has launched into a multi-city experiment in unexpected joy and cerebral happiness. Via contact info we left on the wooden seats we've received notes from those that used them, talking about the surprising smiles that were left on their faces. They wrote how their days were made better and how the emotions that emerged from stumbling across and using a random swing permeated their afternoon and infected those they came into contact with. The joy felt and the urge to spread it was contagious.
We’ve installed swings in San Francisco, in the Marshall Islands, Panama and across Los Angeles, thanks to a grant from The Awesome Foundation. People from around the country have written to tell us how they were inspired to hang swings in their own city.
We’re here to raise enough funds to bring Swings to Bolivia this September and to document our progress via blogging, photographs, and ultimately a full length documentary about the dynamic connections that can be made via the deceptively simple act of slinging a rope over a branch.
It’s a universal message. An appeal to celebrate the passions of our youth, to give in to simplistic urges, but mostly, to remind people of the difference a smile can make in their day and the infectious effect that smile has on those they encounter.
There are a hundred states and cities that we'd love to bring some joy to, but Bolivia in particular has some very relevant statistics:
-Bolivia has the second highest poverty level in South America
-49% of the population is under 20
-40% of their Army is under the age of 18
-The age of consent is arbitrarily defined as "puberty"
-In every 1000 teenage girls, 88 are pregnant
-1 in 4 Bolivians are between the ages of 10 and 19
Essentially Bolivia is a country largely populated by children, few of whom ever get to enjoy that childhood. If ever there was a place in need of a return to innocence and a reminder of the distilled joys in life, this is it.
The goal is not only to connect with the local community but also with the travelers that pass through as they tour South America. Encouraging backpackers from a dozen countries to go out with us and do installations means that they take this experience and knowledge back to their homes and on their travels. It’s not just about spreading joy, but spreading the desire to create it.
WHERE YOUR MONEY IS GOING:
Materials cost to the swings themselves: There are two hardware stores in La Paz, neither of which carries lumber. We’ll be going down with enough rope for 75 swings but able to buy more of it once we land. It costs roughly $10 USD to hang a 15 foot tree swing and we're looking to create hundreds. The wooden seats we’ll need to locally source and cut by hand, or recycle man-made products that work for our uses. Oh yeah, we need a drill, bits and a hand saw, as well.
Travel expenses and living: We’re keeping them to a minimum, couch surfing where possible and counting on the fact that we can hook up with some people on the ground. A month of accommodations does add up, but don’t worry too much about the living cost. We eat little and only need to be watered once daily. As for travel, we’ll fly into and out of La Paz to keep the airfare down, but in our time there we plan to visit many outlying towns and cities via buses and (hopefully) some free rides.
Technical gear: We’re hoping to borrow most of the gear we need to film this, but we need to pick up one other DSLR, two 1Tb hard drives, two SD cards and some other pieces of equipment we wouldn’t get for free. The documentation of this is important because this project is about the dissemination of joy and love and propagating the idea that ANYONE can create and spread happiness. The pleasure felt from participating is as contagious as the swinging itself. You need media for that-- one swing only does so much.
- (31 days)