2017 Year in Review

By Ada Ketchie

Northern Flicker is 2 years old!

We spread our wings and jumped into a grand adventure of service and travel and creation and entrepreneurship and stretching our relationship. We haven’t meant to keep you all in the dark, we were just go-go-going between places and projects. So here’s a hearty catch up about our 2017! 

Probably the biggest news to report is that WE DID IT! We set-off to donate our services and make our professional skill-sets accessible to those who might not have otherwise had the means to invest in telling their story, and that’s exactly what we did. We blew our initial 1 year goal out of the water and spent nearly 22 months helping non-profits and change-makers around the world. We feel proud and empowered that we made this BIG idea happen. We are also humbled and grateful, and wanted to thank each of you again, from the bottom of our hearts, for supporting us in taking this big leap. It was through your generosity, interest, and encouragement we sourced the means and courage to help the people we did. We couldn’t have done it without you. It was the ultimate expression of “paying it forward”. Let the ripples roll on!    

Places we went & projects we loved


This was our third and final visit to Japan to finish filming the 5 month Shibuya 30 Project (a multi-stakeholder collaboration between people from business, government and non-profits to innovate solutions to their city’s needs). It was a treat to return to Japan with some experience and feel more familiar with the landscape, culture, and friends. Of course the greatest highlight was wrapping up filming and being there for the group’s final presentations. There were many exciting ideas and so much positive momentum for what they might accomplish together to improve their city. We will long remember going around at the end, clinking our drinks and cheering “Kampai!” with all of the glowing participants, facilitators, and community members. We look forward to continue collaborating with our colleagues in Japan as they take this type of 30 People Project and expand it to have global reach. Stay tuned. 

Another treat from this final visit was a surprise birthday trip that Nathan organized to visit a famed mountain town called Hakone, known for their Onsens or natural hot springs. We stayed at a traditional style inn called a Ryokan, fully equipped with our own hot spring bath, and delighted in a traditional multi-course style meal called Kaiseki Ryori. This was the perfect way to try so many different types of foods, all in delicate tiny dishes. While each dish was very small, you left feeling perfectly filled up. It left us feeling refreshed to carry on with our workload and of course, even more in love with Japan.


The first organization we worked with as Northern Flicker was for an amazing organization called The Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies. We worked with them before we ever set foot on a plane. Even as we were still building our own website, we helped them re-vamp theirs as well as upgrade their logo. While we didn’t do any formal work while we visited in April of 2017, we were able to visit our dear friends Courtnae and Erik who work for CPCS, and most importantly meet their new baby boy! It was an incredible “full circle” moment that embodied just how far we had come. Getting to walk amongst the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat and learn of the rich and muddied history of the region, see the saffron colored robes of the monks walking by the river and the delicate symbolic lotus flowers that decorated the entry way of most businesses, not to mention the amazing fresh food and highly affordable massages, it was a rejuvenating and culturally expanding experience.

South Africa

It would be an understatement to call this a whirlwind trip. We had literally two days to get home from Cambodia, re-pack, and hop on a plane to South Africa. An exciting opportunity to collaborate with the Presencing Institute (P.I.) showed up, and we leapt at the chance! It had been our great fortune to meet the P.I. powerhouse team early on in Costa Rica, then work together for a brief time in Germany, and our hopes were always to collaborate again. They asked us while we were in Cambodia if we would like to join them on a learning journey to capture how an initiative called Partners for Possibility was transforming education in South Africa through an unconventional (and very effective) approach; and boy, were we all blown away!

We were welcomed into schools that had been transformed by the unlikely partnerships of principals with local business owners. The shifts in leadership, community engagement, school pride, and real world opportunities for students was palpable. We will never forget the the school assembly they put on for us, the choir’s booming voices and the dancers kicking and stomping and clapping and shimmying to their various traditional dances. This is a model that is having tremendous impact in South Africa, but could be valuable for educators around the world. We were honored to be a part of telling their story. 


Our collaboration in creating content for the Presencing Institute’s u.lab course continued with a trip to Oakland CA. We had come full circle (or globe) to do a project in our own country! We focused our story journey in the buzzing Impact HUB and met to speak with various leaders and organizations that were pouring their hearts into shifting the future of healthcare, food procurement, law, workers rights, finance, diversity and inclusion, and more. It is truly difficult to put this experience into words, because the amount of inspiration and empowerment we absorbed over the course of a week was extraordinary.

While we were in the Seattle airport we sat next to a kind man who after hearing where we were going told us to be very careful and safe, as Oakland is a dangerous place. In fact the irony is that Oakland felt like a place teeming with vibrancy and innovation. We must move out of the old stories and embrace those that are committed to reshaping their communities through creativity, justice, experimentation, collaboration and fearless action.


For the first time since Northern Flicker launched, Nathan and Ada would split forces with Nathan leaving for Mexico to work on one final project with the Presencing Institute and Ada staying home in Wenatchee to give a workshop that Northern Flicker had been invited to present at the Annual Summit of the Community Foundation of NCW. While Chelan wasn’t quite as exotic as Mexico, it was a thrilling opportunity to try and coalesce some of our learning to help support non-profit leaders in our home region. We presented on Storytelling through Film and hopefully gave people a few more insights into how this powerful medium can help promote their mission. 

Meanwhile in Mexico, Nathan was helping the Presencing Institute capture some of the magic happening through the work of an organization called La Vaca Independiente. We spent time in the Yucatan interviewing some incredible individuals working to empower and revitalize native Mayan communities to share their wisdom and traditions across generations. We went to La Vaca Independiente’s headquarters to talk to some of the passionate leaders of this incredibly multifaceted organization, and we also visited a maximum security prison in Mexico City where an incredible facilitator of their dia methodology is creating a transformative learning environment in a very unlikely place. Needless to say, Nathan left with a deep sense of awe and renewed inspiration for what brilliant loving people can do in places of some of the most palpable need.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica certainly made it’s mark on us in 2016. The relationships and connections we built were strong. Strong enough that we were invited back again. So we headed back to the jungle to film ECHO for the 2nd year in a row. Again, the event was beautiful and the video was magic; reflecting the incredible space of joy and healing that is created there (note: Nathan was a super star in schlepping gear and doing the heavy lifting as Ada broke her finger days before we flew). Also, the organizers invited us to join the ranks as presenters and we came out from behind the cameras to sing for everyone in an intimate acoustic song session under the gazebo. This rocked our world because the affirmation we received about our music and singing was astounding. Someone said something of the equivalent of “You make stunning videos, but unless you are aspiring to be Quentin Tarantino, ditch the film and do music.” This watered the music seed in us strongly, which is continuing to grow today.

Right after ECHO we had the immense pleasure to film our dear friends and colleagues with PUCCI photography, who we knew through our previous work in 2016 for the non-profit Magical Trees. We sought to show them in their element, two sons and a father, enjoying nature together and capturing its majesty to share with others. It was a privilege to accompany them into the wilds of the Costa Rican jungles. We saw incredible vistas, waterfalls, trees and animals (Maccas and crocodiles and huge iguanas!). We will never forget it. Costa Rica marked our journey coming full circle in yet another way. It was the place Northern Flicker started, and this trip would be the last formal project we took on under the current model. That was a very special thing to circle around so that we could see just how far we had come. And with that said, Costa Rica….we will be back!


ECHO introduced us to new friends from the Happy Start-up School in England. They just happened to be offering their first retreat in the USA, not too far away in Mt. Hood Oregon. As we had landed back home and were trying to integrate all that had just happened, along with where we might go moving forward, this was the perfect inflection point for us to reflect and dream. The retreat was called Alptitude and we were again rocked by the caliber of people we had the pleasure to spend time with. It was the perfect blend of personal and professional retreat, and it helped us have some major breakthroughs concerning all of the options we were thinking about. We also were able to offer some of our skills by way of yoga, photography, and singing. We were honestly on cloud nine when we departed. Meet the participants here!


With landing back home in Wenatchee and staying put for a bit, we also had the good luck to step into some projects locally.  GWATA invited us to speak about our crowdfunding experience at their monthly Tech Talk and Happy Hour. From there we met the executive director of Columbia Valley Affordable Homeownership and are currently supporting them with storytelling and communications through video and their website. Additionally we supported a fabulous new landscape architect and designer with his brand development. Lastly, Nathan has also been able to occasionally collaborate again with his fantastic colleagues at North 40 Productions – including this powerful video they made for the Community Foundation of NCW, where Ada offered her pipes up for the voice over. We were even invited to share about Northern Flicker’s journey to Sterling Junior High’s Leadership classes, which was pretty sweet.

2017, you were mighty generous to us. Thank you to everyone for your interest and support in this wild adventure. We will be in touch to let you know what we’re cooking up for 2018! Northern Flicker is evolving and we are excited to share with you how. 

Check out our Vimeo page to scroll through other projects we’ve had the pleasure of working on along the way.

Much love and happy New Year, 

Ada & Nathan