4-H offering after-school woodworking club

BALDWIN — Whether it's working with power tools, painting, creating something useful or something artistic, woodworking is a craft with a lot to offer; and in March, Lake County students will be invited to join the new after school woodworking club organized by Lake County 4-H.

The class is designed to teach kids the skills they need to learn the craft, by letting them get hands-on experience with instructors guiding them rather than teaching them. The group is currently searching for more members as well as additional adults who can volunteer to help oversee the class.

"We're in the recruitment process," explained Seth Hopkins, the 4-H coordinator for Lake County. "People can sign up at the school or by calling me here at the office. It's open to all kids in the county, not just those who attend Baldwin Community Schools."

The group will be taught by volunteer leader and experienced wood craftsman Scott Cambridge. It will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. starting Wednesday, March 2, and will be hosted at Baldwin High School for seventh to twelfth graders.

"We want to get kids to learn how to use power tools and build projects," said Hopkins. "They can eventually build stools, dressers, chairs or whatever else they want. We want to teach them different techniques and how there are different types and qualities of wood. There is even the potential to take field trips in the future."

There is no experience required, and students who have previous experience also are welcome. The class is designed to be one-on-one, so kids of all skill levels are welcome and can find support for their projects.

"We don't need any specific skill level, we just want to give youth that 4-H hands-on experience," remarked Hopkins. "Since they are learning by doing, they will also be advancing academically through measuring, dividing, comparing proportions and so on."

The class stemmed from the woodworking class Hopkins offered during Baldwin Community School's fall intersession period. The class was such a success, it encouraged him to try to get an after-school club going. This group is the result of those efforts.

"We'll start with the safety aspect of the class," said Hopkins. "Once we get into it, each class will allow the kids to work on their own project — cutting, sanding, painting or whatever they need to do to complete their project."

Hopkins said some kids may doubt woodworking is something they would come to love doing, but he encourages the students of Lake County to check it out.

"Give it a try," remarked Hopkins. "It might not be what you think. Something like woodworking is something you might not expect to be fun, but can be something you come to love. You get to paint, create art, build, find a sense of accomplishment, gain a life skill and make something your family can use."