Activity Spotlight-Woodworking!

Our next “Activity Spotlight” is on Woodworking! Whether it’s the clouds of saw dust, the smell of fresh- cut pine, or the sounds of the electric sanders- the wood-shop creates an environment that puts our senses to the test!

Woodworking is an Illahee favorite because of the unknown challenges that come with learning new skills. As campers discover this activity for the first time, it is apparent that woodcraft is often considered a trade of the past. With the rise of industry, skills in handiwork have declined.  In the early 1900’s these skills were essential. Whether to provide food, functional furniture, or homes, nearly every member of the family was expected to contribute in this way.

Now-a-days, we rely on others to maintain these skills, and much of them have been replaced by high-tech machines and computers…Did you know we can 3-d print a house?! This progress is incredible and technology has pushed the limits in so many aspects, leading to opportunities and possibilities some never could have dreamed. However, we must not forget the benefits that come from understanding the process behind the tech…and that’s where we learn the value of activities such as woodworking.

At Illahee, woodworking began in the 70’s, with director, Frankie Hall. Her dream of building a wood-shop quickly transpired set in motion this valued camp activity. Gordon has been a driving force in keeping this going, as one of his many hobbies is woodcraft. He also recognizes the benefits of woodworking for girls at Illahee:

“Woodworking is one of many activities at camp that empowers girls. In a world where most think of tools as accessories to a man’s domain, a visit to the Illahee wood-shop paints a very different picture with the happy sights and sounds of girls, designing, sawing, assembling, sanding, and finishing their projects. It is a whole brain experience…from the creative right brain of design to the detailed math and drafting from the left side in transferring that vision to reality.”

Campers are given the creative freedom to work with their hands and explore techniques that may feel unnatural or new to them. They leave the woodworking shop with a little more confidence after running the buzz saw, or the nail gun- some taking home impressive functional pieces, others not so much 😊 …and that is OK too.

This entire process is what we value- from start to finish. And something to strive for in all activities at camp. Whether it’s learning the correct stance in archery to improve the shot or rolling out a slab of clay before trying out the wheel- we value each step of the process and encourage campers to slow down and remember the journey. Let’s hear it for woodworking!

Thanks for reading!