Diane’s Diary #33: Volunteer Day at BHR
Note: This is Excerpt #33 in Diane’s Diary. If you would like to read previous excerpts, you can find Diane’s Diary 1-32 here.
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Just before Covid hit, I had reached out to a few people to see if we could film their program. I was in discussions with a few of them, but the pandemic put the kibosh on all of the options. Facilities didn’t want any outsiders (i.e., a film crew) coming into their facility and in most cases, the therapy animal programs had halted for everyone’s safety.
After I finished my master’s program in June 2020, I resigned myself that there wouldn’t be any filming in the near future.
But then I noticed something interesting.
If you recall, in blog post Diane’s Diary 11, I mentioned that I had filmed up at Big Heart Ranch (BHR) in 2019. All we had captured that day was B-roll of the animals, the scenery and a little bit of interview time with the executive director. I had reached out a few times since then to see if we could come back and film again and never got a response.
But then I received one of their newsletters and figured out what the issue was. There was a new executive director, and my emails were going to the former executive director. When I contacted the new executive director, Kyrsha Wildasin, she was enthusiastic about doing something with me.
Kyrsha told me about an upcoming program with an organization called Merging Vets and Players and invited me to film. It was a two-part program. On week one, everyone who wanted to participate in the actual equine therapy program had to first volunteer at the ranch. BHR needed some help with general clean-up, painting, and building projects.
My cameraman, Chateau, and I joined them on volunteer day. Being outdoors in the fresh air, overlooking the ocean, with the animals was a little slice of normal after being under lockdown for a few months. Everyone was in good spirits, happy to help and everyone could now attend the equine therapy program the following weekend.
More about Merging Vets and Players and how the actual event day went in the next blog post!
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Before the pandemic (when this was filmed), therapy animals were making finals week just a tad bit less stressful for college students. Can you imagine how excited students will be when these visits resume in person?