We were approached by Chad Williams, who founded the Indiana Young Birders Club, who asked if he could write a guest post about his excitement for the film, Kenn Kaufman, and birding in general, and we said “sure!”. If you’re thinking: hey, why didn’t I get to write a guest post, the answer is you haven’t asked! Let us know if you are interested in contributing to our blog and spread the word about our film — the premier is just three weeks away…
Without further ado, here’s Chad Williams:
The excitement that I felt was almost overwhelming when I first heard that there was a movie in production centered on young birders as the leading characters. From the spark of my first Ruby-throated Hummingbird when I was about 11 years old until now, 26 years later – birds have been my guiding interest in life. And, that same spark that fueled my initial curiosity in birds is the spark that gave me the inspiration to start a club that would give kids an opportunity to find lifelong friends with whom they could share their lifelong journey of birding.
In 2009, after being inspired by Kenn and Kim Kaufman and their amazing accomplishments with the Ohio Young Birders Club, I approached Amy Wilms, then president of the Indiana Audubon Society, Inc. about my idea to start a club alongside the support of the already established IAS. Amy and the board accepted the idea with open arms and the Indiana Young Birders Club was born! Rob Ripma, Scott Arvin, Amy Wilms, John Velasquez, and many others immediately went to work on getting our club started and together we designed a website, newsletter, blog, etc. all in an effort to establish our existence in the world of youth birding. And, just as we expected, the young birders began to join our initiative giving us the ability to start scheduling birding trips tailored to kids across the state. We have continued to grow and now have youth advisors that plan the majority of our events. In August 2013, we will host the first ever Indiana Young Birders Conference!
Having the privilege of seeing our young members connect has been inspiring beyond words. Witnessing our members working together to help “spot” a bird and each of them willing to patiently step aside so that the most excited kids can witness a bird first is altogether amazing! Lifelong relationships are forming right in front of our eyes and it is all thanks to a group of committed volunteers that understand that these kids will one day become the decision-makers that will decide the fate of the birds that we all love.
In Kingbird Highway, Kenn Kaufman described how his parents reluctantly supported his interest in birds by allowing him to go on birding adventure across the U.S.! While this might be extreme, I can’t image what the birding community would be like today had Kenn not had that opportunity expand his interest in birds and meet a ton of amazing people along the way.
Simply put, it’s not just about the birds; it’s about the relationships that birds help to create. It is these relationships that will provide the insurance necessary to protect their fate and this cycle starts with the support of a young birders club!
Interested in learning more? Check the Young Birders Network!
— Chad Williams