Service in Action: Lost Sierra Hoedown creator talks success

 By Drew Fisher
LSH-9-26.2

Drew Fisher, with co-workers Rachael Blum and Cody Wilkins, organized a hoedown that would raise funds to reopen the Sierra’s first ski resort in Johnsville, Calif.

On March 28, I returned to Rosie’s office to discuss my debacle. Having been a ski coach since 2007, Rosie again encouraged me to try something new. I’ll never forget when I said, “I dunno Rosie, all I really want to do is throw a hoedown.”

Only at Sierra Nevada College would an adviser reply with an enthusiastic green light to pursue organizing a hoedown for a school project. A few days later, the Lost Sierra Hoedown had a venue, a cause and an epic staff.

Cody Wilkins and Rachael Blum stepped up to the plate for the massive undertaking, and we started our service learning project together a whole semester early. Azariah “Z” Reynolds, an event organizer quickly became our leader and mentor. Z is a man with an illustrious career in the music industry, who had the experience we needed to guide us and make our cohesive vision come true. Most ironically, Z has always dreamed of throwing a show at the the Johnsville Ski Bowl, where he learned to ski as a child.

Over the last six months the planets and stars aligned relentlessly, slowly bringing the Lost Sierra Hoedown from our original blurry vision to a crystal clear reality. The Lost Sierra Hoedown, held Sept. 20-22, was a massive success that held true to all of our most important ideals and values.

It might seem ridiculous to call a hoedown a life changing experience, but for me, “life changing” is an understatement. I have so much gratitude, the words “thank you” aren’t enough.

Cody and Rachael eagerly joined in dedicating six months to an event in which we would not gain any profit, but instead pour massive amounts of time, energy and gas money into. Katie Zanto and the entire Interdisciplinary department fostered an idea and project that taught us more than we could ever learn from sitting in a lecture hall.

Sierra Nevada College and the Student Government Association helped to boldly present our stance on sustainability at the event. I will never forget the image of famous musicians like Miner and  the Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit drinking out of the SNC stainless steel pint cups onstage. In the end, we were left with an empty garbage dumpster. Over three days, about 500 people produced about four bags of garbage. Another core value of the Lost Sierra Hoedown came to fruition.

From the college, to families and friends, the Lost Sierra Hoedown was not organized by just one or three or 10 people. It was created by an entire community. Thank you so much to everyone who took part in making a dream come true, maybe we’ll see you next year.

This article was originally published in the Eagle’s Eye on Sept. 26, 2013.