Construction Camp, Day 2

Day two brought more tool demos and practice, a few assistant photographers, and the base of our future roof-saving support beam. The younger group began practicing with drills and hammers today. We used the chop saw to cut some major pieces. Friendships are forming fast and excitement is building.

We had to gather supplies. One person in and one person out made for a traffic jam.



The complexities of a multi-age camp (as young as 5, as old as 14) are always worth the magic moments and amazing friendships that form.


I have an incredibly nice d7000 Nikon camera. Nearly every day of school and camp I trust my youngest friends to handle it with care and with a certain professionalism. My camera carries on unscathed, and my collection of photos from 3 feet lower grows and grows. Here are a few highlights from their perspective today.


Now we have the skill base and the actual base. Time to build on both.

Construction Camp, Day 1

It’s week three of summer camp here at Brightworks and my first day back on the job. It was an all-hands kind of day.

We started the morning setting the tone for the week, introducing ourselves and giving space for each kid to introduce themselves. Then we presented the week’s big challenge: the roof might cave in (not really) and we have to build a support structure to hold it up. We are going to build something that touches our ceiling, over 25 feet up.

Some kids practiced with drills while others began prototyping with legos.


If you didn’t know, tree stumps make amazing chairs, and are perfect for hammer and nail practice. So we pulled out one of the redwoods we have on hand.



Gever gave a chainsaw demo.




Afterwards we ventured into the world of hot glue and utility knives for more prototyping.



…While others got right down to harvesting wood from other projects and the former Kid City.


More photos from today and everyday can be found at our flickr page.

See you tomorrow!

big dreams and practical action

This week, members of staff have been talking at great length about our space, its troubles, and its opportunities. We even were so lucky as to have an opportunity to talk to two lovely teachers and a preschool director who practice the principles of the Reggio Emilia approach at the New School West in Southern California. The discussion included the practical (the shelves should be shorter), the short term (you can improve your welcoming space right now), the abstract (beautification of the space, community values, materials as a language of expression), and the long term.

All of this was just in time for a weekend work day. From 10am-5:30pm several parents, Gever and I were in the space.

We built new tables.

We chopped our shelves in half.

Lumber was moved to longer term storage.

Materials where re-labeled, re-sorted, re-organized, and put onto our new half sized shelving. I have a lot to say about this, but will have to save it for another day.

The kitchen was scrubbed and reset. A fridge may have been slid down a set of stairs.

The library got a new look and a new table (table not pictured here).

Kaia and Ben where instrumental in keeping our space dust free.

And we kept dreaming. We took many practical, gritty, and important steps toward laying a foundation on which we can build. Not the least important of which was taking many moments to write down our hopes for the space.