Woodcraft Applauds AAW Youth Turning Program and Local Outreach

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Woodcraft commends the AAW for expanding woodturning instruction options at the annual symposium.

A participant in one of the AAW Youth Turning classes focuses on turning a Christmas tree, as an AAW volunteer watches.

“Woodcraft is pleased to support the AAW Youth Turning program and the additional opportunities for other groups to learn woodturning.”

Thirty-seven young people participated in the Youth Turning Workshops at the American Association of Woodturners Symposium held in Raleigh, North Carolina, in July. Wounded veterans, high school students and the visually impaired also shared instructional space as part of this program sponsored by Woodcraft and 11 other woodworking companies.

When the AAW (American Association of Woodturners) launched the Youth Turning Program 15 years ago, the goal was to interest young people in woodturning by providing hands-on instruction. A few years ago, the Lighthouse for the Blind program founded by Andi Sullivan was invited to use the workshop space and equipment so the visually impaired could learn woodturning. This year two additional groups were invited for turning instruction: 15 veterans from a local Wounded Warriors group and Cedar Ridge High School woodworking students.

“Woodcraft is pleased to support the AAW Youth Turning program and the additional opportunities for other groups to learn woodturning,” Vice President of Sales and Marketing Beth Coffey said. “Woodcraft is committed to providing educational options for woodworkers at all skill levels, so support for this program fits that goal.”

The 26 face shields Woodcraft donated became part of the 15 tool packages given to youth participants, 10 packages for the Educational Opportunity Grant (EOG) recipients, and one provided to the Lighthouse for the Blind program established in Raleigh in conjunction with the symposium.

Youth Turning Program and Educational Grants
The 37 youth participants, ranging in age from 10 to 18, could choose from a variety of small projects such as pens, key rings, a Christmas tree or ornament, a kaleidoscope, or a magic wand in the nine classes. Their creations were displayed in the AAW Instant Gallery, an open member show that features more than 1,000 works by woodturners attending the symposium.

Fifteen of the young turners went home with complete turning packages consisting of a mini lathe with stand, face shield, turning chuck, turning tools, and a safety drive. Names of youth who participated in at least one turning rotation were entered in a drawing for the packages.

Turners who taught the youth workshops included Kip Christensen, Katie Stofel, Andi Sullivan, Allen Miller, Amy Costello, Steve Cook, and Paul Carter.

Sullivan is a visually impaired turner and the founder of the Lighthouse for the Blind Program that establishes programs in the cities where symposiums are held. It was Sullivan’s first time as an instructor for the youth. Stofel, a former Youth Program participant, is now a college student, instructor and owner of Frito Woodworking. To learn more about Sullivan and Stofel, visit “Woodworking Adventures” on Woodcraft.com.

Ten Educational Opportunity Grants are available each year to selected applicants for woodturning education, and applicants need not be members of AAW. Youth Program Chair Larry Miller said seven grants went to individuals and clubs and the other three to schools. Each grant provides a lathe and a tool package.

Lighthouse for the Blind Looking for a Corporate Sponsor
Participants in the Lighthouse for the Blind turning sessions were referred through the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Services for the Blind. In the coming weeks, Malcolm Zander, who assists Sullivan, said professional turner Alan Leland has agreed to teach the division’s staff to turn using the tools donated through the program. The staff can then teach their visually impaired clients how to turn.

Sullivan’s newest challenge is to find a corporate sponsor for the Lighthouse for the Blind program. There are now seven programs offering woodturning instruction to the visually impaired: Tampa, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Kansas City, Missouri; Portland, Oregon; and now Raleigh, North Carolina.

It costs about $1,500 a year for supplies for each program, which is why Sullivan is hoping to attract a major corporate donor. “At the present time, the programs are funded by local woodturning clubs and private and corporate donations,” Sullivan said.

For more about the American Association of Woodturners, visit woodturner.org .
To learn more about Woodcraft, please contact the store nearest you, visit http://www.woodcraft.com or call (800) 535-4482. To learn about Woodcraft franchise opportunities, woodcraftfranchise.com or email woodcraftfranchise@woodcraft.com.

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