It's not very often that you come across a kid that's really into working wood and I mean REALLY into the hobby... so much into it that at only 12 years old he's started his own business selling extraordinary homemade pens to raise money for his own college fund. First, I'm most impressed that in the popular culture of today's America when it seems like more and more people are looking for a handout, here we have Alex who has taken steps to secure his own future and on his own terms. Now that's impressive!
Just click on the video above where Alex tells his story in his own words and the video below shows him in his dads workshop as he actually makes one of his unique pens step by step. After watching the video below it is obvious that this boy has achieved a masterful level of competence in using some heavy-duty woodworking machinery. His hands are steady and he knows exactly what he's doing. Alex has a plan to one day attend Duke University and study to be a heart surgeon and I can only hope that he will be available as "Dr. Alex" if the time ever comes for my own heart surgery one day. You can also learn more about what he's doing by visiting his website, Pens For College. It's kids like this that renew and inspire my faith in the next generation. Nice work Alex!
Living in the mountains of North Carolina I have spent almost 30 very
rewarding years working with at-risk kids in a wilderness camping program as a counselor, outdoor educator, and woodshop teacher. To learn more about what my blog is all about, just scroll down this sidebar to "About my blog..."
1. Woodcarving/Woodwork: Working wood has been a lifetime obsession for me and I enjoy sharing what I know. It is my belief that hands-on and experiential learning has a direct and profound effect on the development of a child's intellect, confidence, and character. Projects of mine (and my students) will be posted as they progress and I will occasionally include a video tutorial. All of my videos can be found here .
2. Bushcraft/Primitive Living Skills: Finding ways to live closer to the land has always fascinated me. Whether it's building a shelter, fire starting, animal tracking, or just making rustic furniture... you'll eventually see some of it here.
3. Long Distance backpacking, canoeing, & bicycling: Some of my long distance adventures include thru-hiking the 2,600 mile Pacific Crest Trail, Mexico to Canada and I solo paddled the 1,800 mile Yukon river across northwest Canada and Alaska to the Bering sea. More detailed accounts of these and many other adventures can be found here
4. Sustainable Living: I'm always looking for better ways to do more by using less. It's not so much an "environmental" thing to me as it is a quest for personal independence from material things and finding a path to more substantive living .
5. Scouting Activity: As a scoutmaster of 6 years (and currently assistant scoutmaster) I'm actively involved with the troop and "Order of the Arrow" where it is a joy to volunteer hundreds of hours each year because investing in the next generation insures a better tomorrow for everyone. In an era when most schools don't value hands-on learning, outdoor education, and the arts... scouting soars in meeting these critical experiences for boys.
6. Profiles: Behind everyone's success you can usually find a trail of some very significant mentors and teachers along the way. And sometimes you don't completely understand how someone affected your life for the better until many years later. You'll find some of those stories here.