CorpsTHAT’s First Documentary Filmmaking: Summer Tour 2017

Deaf and Hard of Hearing people tend to be socially excluded because of limited access to good-quality services, resources and networks (e.g. watching educational videos with no captions, playing interactive games that are based on the sounds or rhymes, finding interpreters who are motivated to interpret outdoor in a lengthy period, etc.). When it comes to outdoor opportunities for stewardship, leadership development, and job training in conservation and environmental fields, many Deaf and Hard of Hearing people don’t often have access to information and find leaders who communicate their language fluently in those fields. So, they are either left in the cycle of feeling isolated or leave the environmental and outdoor field for employment or programs that provide better inclusion and accessibility.

We, at CorpsTHAT, provide organizational support for the inclusion of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community in outdoor, conservation corps, and environmental conservation-related programs.  For CorpsTHAT’s Summer Tour 2017 will be filming our journey across the United States visiting local Deaf Outdoor Communities.  We will work with Deaf and Hard of Hearing people who are involved in local conservation corps crews as well as interview Deaf outdoor experts to show the world what it’s like to work out in the trails, mountains, or ocean based on their own personal experiences.  Our objective is to change the perception of uncertainty and fear towards Deaf and Hard of Hearing people who work outdoors.

CorpsTHAT will skip all of the typical tourist visits and go off the beaten track on their dirty worn-out hiking boots. You can expect a thoroughly entertaining, epic adventure!

We will start the adventure on June 20, 2017.

Every Monday, during the tour, we will announce the following week’s destination.  Be sure to check our blogs/vlogs for those announcements as well interviews, spotlights and photos we will be posting weekly.  Here’s a link to our Blog/Vlog and you can also subscribe to our YouTube channel for more adventure videos here!


Who is on the project team?

Sachiko Flores and Emma Bixler met while working for the Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa’s Summer Youth Program in 2011. They both continued to explore their interests nationally and internationally in facilitating experiential learning opportunities for youth and young adults. After working for multiple conservation corps, they saw the need within those programs for more support to understand the complexity of social inclusion in the outdoors. This lead to the founding of CorpsTHAT in the fall of 2016.

We, Emma and Sachiko, share a passion for the Deaf community, the environment, adventure and the wilderness; this led to us founding CorpsTHAT as well as creating our first documentary filmmaking.

We both know American Sign Language and culture by heart. Deaf outdoor enthusiasts may scatter around the world but we aim to bring their authentic stories closer and to connect us together.


Sko reacting to Emma telling a story during a recent backpacking trip on the North Shore of Minnesota, 2017.


Where does the money go?

This kind of series is very expensive to produce for a variety of reasons: we are going to be on the road for three months, which include gas for the car for those long 10,000 miles of driving from the East Coast to West Coast, and food to refuel our energies.

We have much of our own camping and camera equipment but there are still some main necessary items that we need to rent or buy to ensure the videos are produced in the highest quality possible.

Emma's Packing Items

Making sure we are taking the essentials for the Summer Tour.  We will be car camping mostly but at times will be backpacking into project sites so it is important to be prepared.


Risks, Challenges and Adventure:

We will be riding through America for three months, and we are fully aware of the risks and challenges that we may encounter.

We are working hard to meet our goal to raise $10k which gives us a great chance to expand our creativity.  We will find free or cheap accommodation for the three entire months.  It will be our “campsurfing”…Think of couchsurfing or WWOOFing but with camping. This means setting up our tent in a friend’s backyard, staying on campground in exchange for volunteering to maintain trails, camping in dispersal sites on National Forestland or perhaps sleeping in our Subaru’s Crosstrek somewhere under the stars. And we must stress that we want to get our hands dirty and to challenge ourselves!

Last month we had a small kick-off party, we received overwhelming positive support from friends, families, and our community.  With campsurfing, all the free snacks, and donations we received from the summer kick-off party and GoFundMe, we are able to change our fundraising goal from $10k to $4,800!

We are asking for the simple minimum we need to pull this off. We aim to have the documentary film completed by the end of September 2017 and release the film in mid-October 2017.  Since we both have strong backgrounds in working and living in the outdoors we are excited to take on this added challenge of making a documentary film while we are living outdoors and traveling across the country.

Documentary filmmaking is always very challenging; we are very respectful towards the local people and the environment in which the work and live.  Within our storytelling we will remain open to working with everyone individually so their story is accurately represented.  We look forward to sharing everyone’s story and experiences with you to build a stronger and more connected community.


Special Features:

We will film in depth, personal post-trip interviews with CorpsTHAT team, reflecting on the trip, including behind the scenes footage and outtakes.

CorpsTHAT will be making their own short behind-the-scenes episodes for their YouTube channels.


Scheduled Live Feeds:

We will set up scheduled live feeds, streaming from the hiking trail or on the road where you will be able to see beautiful scenery as you are traveling with us.


Thank you!

Without your help this project won’t be possible, so we really appreciate your support. We are excited to hit on the road and we can’t wait to find out what the adventure has to offer.

If you have any suggestions for Deaf Outdoor events, people we should meet, local communities we should visit, please contact us at

Once again, thank you so much for your support, and we will see you somewhere across the country.

USA map

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