Last week, if you had walked into the Shop, you would have found a group of middle school-aged students from Hong Kong, busily perched over sawhorses and anvils as they boiled, bent, and riveted mast hoops. Or, if you had ventured out onto the dock, you would have been greeted by the sight of the very same students learning to row a boat.
The group came to us on their last day of an intensive two-week language camp at University of Farmington. A random connection brought them to our door, and it was evident from the blank stares on their faces in response to the question "What do you know about the Apprenticeshop already?" that they had no idea what they were getting into.
Most of the students had never held a tool or rowed a boat before. The Principal of the school who was present commented on how, like here, schools in Hong Kong have stopped offering kids access to these kinds of skills. Some of the students were hesitant at first. But once we gave them a few basic demonstrations, they were off an running on their own steam with little prompting from us. All in all they seemed to enjoy the experience; it was exciting to be a small part of their first visit to the US!