We visited Dada while he volunteered at cue52 last week.

Ryan hated school growing up. (We’re quite opposite in that sense.) I think he always knew deep down what we’ve all discovered as adults–that, no, despite what your math teacher says, you will not in fact use half the geometry and algebra skills they insist you learn and, no, you will not in fact remember (or ever even discuss again, for that matter) what the War of 1812 was all about. It really wasn’t until he went to film school in his early 20s that he really excelled, finding for the first time his passion for education.

When Ryan left his day job to work for himself several years ago, his decision was preceded by a lot of conversations about what he would do to make a living. He seemed to always come back to the notion of teaching. (I guess he would teach Audio/Visual, although we didn’t have anything like that at the uppity public school I attended. :) ) We both knew deep down that it wasn’t a realistic route for him (gee, I wonder which types of classes get nixed first when budget cuts come around?), but the desire to teach never left his heart.

A few years ago, one of the volunteers at the church where Ryan was Video Director asked to meet with him to discuss an idea. He and his wife were starting a “camp” for the arts where kids could learn drama, singing, dancing…and film. Ryan signed on almost immediately to mentor the film class and became a part of cue52. It was his opportunity to teach, to give back, to inspire kids like him–kids with a passion for their creativity to come alive on the screen. He’s volunteered for cue52 for a few years now, both at the annual week-long summer camp and during the year for after school classes, but this current cue52 camp has been a bit different.

Kevin Jackson, who founded cue52 with his wife, Jana, passed away from a brain aneurysm on Emma Vance’s birthday–June 27th, less than three weeks before camp was set to begin. It was a tragic and sudden loss to say the least, and sitting at Kevin’s celebration service just a few days later, it was apparent that his impact was deep, his absence widely felt and that his legacy bound to live on. The next few weeks are a bit of a blur as Jana, Ryan and the other mentors tried to figure out what cue52 was going to look like this year.

As God tends to do, He made a way. Somehow everything landed into place in perfect timing, and starting last Monday, Ryan had a class of 13 eager students to teach. All week they learned about special effects makeup, cameras, lighting, etc., and although at the end of each night I could see that Ryan’s exhausted beyond belief, I could also see that he was satisfied with his day’s work. I know it’s a tough subject–especially last week–but I can’t help but think after hearing Ryan’s recap every night that Kevin would be so proud of the camp staff. The kids and the mentors learned and grew and created, and that’s the ultimate goal.

E.V. and I visited Ryan on Tuesday, sneaking a peek in on his class and having lunch “behind the scenes.” Emma Vance always loves a crowd to entertain, and with a bunch of kids and adults hanging around and eating, she was ecstatic! In fact, she pretty much ignored Ryan and I in favor of putting on a show for everyone–walking, crawling, banging together shoes, clapping for herself. She is a natural ham–a natural performer–and as Ryan walked me to the car, baby in tow, I joked, “So how old does Emma Vance have to be to sign up for cue52?” The bigger question is this: Will she opt to sign up for film class? We’ll have to see what Dad says about that. :)

Chewing on Holding onto Dada’s access pass for a minute
Waiting for Ryan’s class to break for lunch at the adjoining coffee shop

(Too bad that toy made noise, which annoyed the patrons. Oops. Sorry!)

This is a weird habit of hers–taking five second breaks while playing where she literally just flops down flat out of nowhere. Weirdo. My weirdo.

Quick baby lunch before daddy lunch started…

Jana trying to “teach” E.V. to walk…

…until she took off! ;)

“Hey guys! Hey! Hey, it’s me, Emma Vance! I’m a big kid, too!”

Apparently performing took everything she had for the afternoon.

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