Youth in Woodworking

“…Education is a process of opening creative doors and allowing those doors to open to everyone.”    

      –Reverend J. Lynwood Smith, founder of The Shelbourne Craft School (now the Shelbourne Art Center)

There’s been a fair amount of press lately about how difficult it is to pass the craft of woodworking down to a younger generation. Traditional high school woodworking programs are being cut in the interest of saving money. And our high-tech society doesn’t lend itself to hobbies and crafts like woodworking.

I think it’s up to us woodworkers to get kids involved and interested in our craft. Let your kids hang out in the shop.  Invite the neighbor kids into your shop while you’re working on projects.  Let them make some cuts on a band saw.  Or make some shavings on a lathe.  Watch their eyes light up.  They’ll soon be begging you to help them make something.  What better way to pass on the legacy of woodworking.  Invest some time in the younger generation.

Adam Wilde in Canada is a 19-year old that got sawdust in his pants cuffs watching his Dad work on a lathe.  Now he’s making custom pens on his own to help pay for college.

And the former Shelbourne Craft School in Vermont (now known as the Shelbourne Art Center) is continuing a tradition of teaching youngsters the craft of woodworking.  It was started in 1938 in the basement of a church rectory by Rev. J. Lynwood Smith.  His goal was to have local youth learn the fundamentals of woodworking and the joys of creating from wood “articles both useful and pleasing to the eye.”  Here’s an article that talks about the history of the center and how it reaches the youth.

Let us know how you got started in woodworking.  Do you involve your children in your craft?  If so, how?  We’d be interested in reading your comments.