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Dave Duffin, Director

I moved from Philadelphia to California in 1969 after 4 years in the Marines. I was getting started in photojournalism and had a career path established. One sunny afternoon a kid on a mini bike had a spill on the dirt road in front of my home. His parents were gone so I took him to the Doctor’s office to clean a cut. Returning him home I told him he should wear gloves and a helmet like I did when I raced motorcycles.
Two weeks later he and 4 of his friends knocked on my door and asked me to help start a motorcycle shop at their school! I was even more shocked when the school board thought it was a grand idea and hired me to run it.

The shop experience was a keystone to many of the kids of that era. They learned study habits using projects geared to the world of riding and repairing. They were in the middle of the 60/70’s turmoil and found a safe oasis in their shop at the school. I took them on numerous trips all over California where they developed a bond of friendship and respect for each other that still exists. The original group of students all went on to successful lives and careers.

I left the school to continue teaching (flying) and then worked in photography and films for 20 years. All the while we continued to make trips to desert locations. The original “kids” from the school project were now the counselors and aides. I realized that this process we developed should be made available to many others.
A corporate filing was approved by the Federal and State governments (2004) and we are now a 501 (c) (3) education based non-profit entity. We want to open the doors to this “School in the Desert” to as many kids as possible.
Of the 5 kids who knocked on my door 35 years ago, two of them are now on the Board of Directors of Oasis for Kids, Inc.

Instructors

These professionals are part of our corps of advisors and trip aides. Many are former students from our school program of 30 years ago. They all have worked with me or for me over the past 3 decades.

Jan Sears is a CHP Helicopter crewman and paramedic. He can give a course of first aid and survival techniques. He is also a great role model and can offer training in aviation and photography.

Greg Quinones has volunteered on our trips for over 15 years. He is an expert rider and works at Lucas Arts new video projects facility in the Presidio of San Francisco. He has worked as a software test engineer for the past 15 years.

Steve Rasmussen is a chiropractor and real estate agent and has taken trips by bike to the tip of South America, and Alaska. Last year he rode across Mongolia, Russia and Europe.

Matt Farnsworth is a landscape contractor. He also can speak about history and invention of modern electronics since his grandfather, Philo T. Farnsworth is the inventor of electronic television.

Andrew Kleinberg wears many hats. He can help with information about aviation since he is a commercial pilot. He can also address questions about coastal ecology. He is one of the best know surfers of the Marin coast, a commercial fisherman and an international traveler who speaks Spanish.

Cameron Brown is the “MacGyver” of our experts. He has worked for George Lucas at Skywalker Ranch and now travels all over the world setting up “Jumbotron” displays for events of international stature.