I recently had the opportunity to attend a short basketry workshop with Bonnie Byrum who is a friend and supporter of Boy Scouting in North Carolina. The workshop was short but it was her goal to inspire young and older hands to the wonderful world of basket weaving and her enthusiasm was more than contagious.
A newcomer could be easily intimidated from browsing around at her magnificent collection of personal weaving but her helpful demeanor quickly put everyone at ease. On the table Bonnie had four containers holding red, yellow, blue, and green dyes with short reeds soaking in the mixture. Everyone was given four of the reeds with each color.
The reeds were wet and thus easy to work as Bonnie guided us through the weaving of a wonderful symbol that represented our membership in Order of the Arrow. As seen in the close-up pictures below the blue reed represented us. The red represented our lodge chapter, the yellow our lodge, and the green our section.
At first it was a little tricky to get a knack for the weaving but I soon caught on. Although the picture to the right doesn't show it, I later decided to trim the four reed ends to a shorter length and at an angle for more visual effect.
This was a wonderful hands-on activity and I didn't see anyone that didn't have a great time. We also left with a great craft and a much better impression for those who weave.
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.