In just a little more than two months, Jon Recknagel has documented 25 of his family’s outings.
The Structural Designer for Mid-States Concrete Industries has a three-year-old son, Liam, and will celebrate his third wedding anniversary with his wife, Natasha, this month (September). Throughout Liam’s life, Jon has always made monthly videos, documenting his son growing up. He and Natasha are also big fans of watching videos on YouTube and the idea for a vlog series just hit him one day.
Knowing he wanted to make sure Liam had a great childhood, one that he could remember and look back on, Jon came up with the idea for One Fun Thing.
The idea was to do one fun thing each and every day and document it. In addition to Jon, Natasha and Liam, the vlogs also regularly feature Liam’s grandparents and even his great-grandparents.
“We try to do one fun thing, but it’s not always extravagant,” Jon said. “We try to keep it realistic. You can have fun doing basically anything with your family.”
Videos have included visits to The Cave of the Mounds, Gymnastics Academy Trampoline Center, Burpee Museum, local parks, grandma and grandpa’s pool and more. Jon grew up in Roscoe, so he is very familiar with the area, but also takes to the internet to search for new places to visit as well.
On a really full day, Jon shoots about 200 video clips. Having 30 to 50 gigs of video to work with is pretty typical and Jon spends about three hours of editing time to create a three- to five-minute video. Natasha helps with editing, too, and helps manage One Fun Thing’s social media platforms.
The first video launched on YouTube June 29th, and in the beginning Jon’s goal was to post a video every single day. Given the time commitment required to do that, he made it an impressive 15 days in a row before the schedule of balancing the vlog with the rest of his life took its toll. His new goal is to post two to three videos per week.
Although he has no formal schooling in photography or videography, Jon has always been interested in both. Even when he was young, Jon and his friends would make videos of themselves doing stunts. He also started a side business, shooting wedding videos.
“Sometimes you really need the video to tell the whole story,” he said.
One of the most fun parts of the vlog is that Liam gets really excited to do the intro to each video and loves to watch the videos. And while the videos are super important to Jon and his family that live nearby, the videos are also really special for family that doesn’t get to see Jon, Natasha and Liam on a regular basis.
Perhaps even more special about the vlogs is that Jon is hoping to turn One Fun Thing into a movement. He has launched a YouTube channel, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter to promote One Fun Thing. Jon and Liam also have One Fun Thing T-shirts they try to wear when they film their adventures. He wants to encourage other families to take a break from the hustle and bustle of life’s to-do lists and remember to spend time together to do one fun thing each and every day.
“I’ve always been really inspired by kids,” Jon said. “… I just really want to make sure they have a good upbringing and childhood, (and that) they have fun.”
At least one person has been inspired by the movement already. Jon’s neighbor recently purchased a camera and some editing gear to make his own videos.
“They are genuine and they are sending the right message,” Jon said of the videos. “It’s just our life and our family.”
Find all of the videos on YouTube.