Jensen Huggins

Jensen Huggins

Project builds on family values

Latter Day Saints Venture Scouting group gets youth involved in hands-on project

The room is full of teenage boys, and instead of the constant chatter of a TV or the explosive sounds of video games filling the space, just the sound of their voices and their mentors are audible.

That was the goal of the project.

The Latter Day Saints Venture Scouting group wanted to pick a winter project that would take the boys, ages 11 to 18, away from their TVs and computers and have them focus on something tangible.

Many ideas were pitched but the one that stood out after a paddling excursion last summer was to have each boy build a wooden kayak.

“We feel they need to do projects that are hands-on and that they will have something tangible at the end of it,” said James Burnham, one of the leaders of the project.

Some might think that the prospect of working six hours a week on a handmade wooden kayak would not appeal to the average teenage boy but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

“We went on a kayaking trip before and we were pretty amped about it (the building project) because we knew what kayaks were about but we had never actually built one before,” said Caden Brown, 18.

“We already have a trip planned for after, assuming these things float,” laughs Wyatt Tarr, 16.

More is taking place on the ground floor of the Nixon Wenger Law building than kids building kayaks. They are working side by side with their friends, dads, grandpas and volunteers, learning and problem solving together.

“By ourselves it would be really hard but we have so many people helping out and we have each other as well,” said James Whibley, 17.

When Dave Salmon jokes about not being very helpful on the project, his grandson, Alex Salmon, 15, pipes up, telling his grandfather that he has helped him a lot.

“We are having a great time and it is fun doing things together,” said Dave Salmon.

A total of 19 wooden kayaks are being made by the group and it has turned into a community project.

The total cost of the materials for all the kayaks is $12,000 so the group has been working hard on fundraising to cover the costs, holding bottle drives, shovelling snow and putting up Christmas lights.

They have received help from local businesses, including being loaned the large unfinished office space in the Nixon Wenger Law building.

With each kayak taking at least a total of 80 hours each to make, they hope to have their finished projects on the water by May.

After a winter of hard work each boy will be left with a kayak and the knowledge that he made it with his own hands, thanks to the help of his friends and family.