The Boys' Shed Project
The Boys’ Shed is conducted out of the Anglican Parish of Warracknabeal - Church Rectory Garage. Two separate sessions are currently offered:
Monday afternoons (weekly) - Primary age participants
Thursday afternoons (fortnightly) - High school age participants
The Boys’ Shed has been operational since August 2018. Currently there is a capacity for 12-16 participants in the program (determined by the size of the Rectory garage), and there are six male registered mentors that supervise and help co-ordinate the program.
Rev James was appointed Parish Priest in December 2017. He perceived a need where young males could develop confidence and increase socialisation skills in a supportive environment. He discerned that even within a rural setting, many boys did not have the skills nor the opportunity to work practically with their hands in a safe workshop situation. Concurrently, in conversation with parents there were a number of boys identified that required ‘male mentors’ in their lives due to family circumstances, isolation and disadvantage.
Expansion of Project:
The Anglican Parish, as part of Project Regenerate, would like to build a purpose built Boys’ Shed to expand participation and opportunity for young people in the Warracknabeal region.
‘Rev’s Revolution’ was instigated by Rev James in August 2020. His aim is to ride 5,000kms on his bicycle in 365 days (01 Aug 20 - 01Aug 21) to raise $25,000 towards the building of a new Boys’ Shed on Anglican Church grounds. (click here for more info on Rev's Revolution)
Aims and Objectives of the Boys’ Shed:
There is a desperate need for a supportive and safe environment for male participants to explore their creativity and develop practical and social skills appropriate for their age and social context.
In our modern society, there are very few contexts where a ‘boys only’ space is provided. Current writing and research suggests that boys need a specified space to grow and build confidence, and eventually develop into fine young men.
There is also significant research that suggests mentoring has become as important as parenting itself, and the need to develop relationships with significant elders and non-family members has become very important focus for health professionals.
For many participants, sport is not ‘their thing’ and therefore an activity that engages them in mind and body through the Boys’ Shed projects has become an important part of their personal development.
The Boys’ Shed aims to develop a healthy sense of ‘self’ and encourages choices that lead to mental and physical wellbeing.
More recently, the ‘church’ has been under scrutiny in light of widespread sexual abuse of those in their care. The cycles of abuse must STOP! The Boys’ Shed seeks to redeem trust and confidence in the reality that the Anglican Church of Warracknabeal (Anglican Diocese of Ballarat) can provide safe and careful regard for all people.
The Boys’ Shed can provide an important educational experience for participants and mentors who have little opportunity to explore woodwork skills.
It is important that participants have a positive experience in the Boys’ Shed. Completing projects that have required time and effort have proven to be very beneficial to the self-esteem of our participants.
The ‘FISH Philosophy’ is also used as the basis for social interaction and behaviour in the Boys’ Shed.
A major focus in the Boys’ Shed is to use recyclable materials. All the timber used is recycled pallet timber, and where possible other salvaged materials. Hardware and tools have been purchased new. Rev James also allows use of some of his tools.
That it is fun.
What happens in the Boys’ Shed Project?:
There is no curriculum at Boys’ Shed. It was important for the team to establish a space that wasn’t determined by deadlines and strict conformity to how projects were embraced/embarked. The onus is on the participants to stay focussed and motivated in their projects (with encouragement).
Each session begins with a “Toolbox meeting” where food is shared and an overview of the afternoon is discussed. Personal projects require participants to: identify, design and draw project; Choose appropriate timber; Understanding project ‘phases’ / steps in construction; and Develop skills in woodworking techniques.
Hand tools and small power tools (cordless) are used in the Boys’ Shed. No major power tools such as circular & table saws are used by participants. Further; problem solving and leadership (Boys’ Shed Captain) skills are encouraged. ‘Boys’ Shed Captain’ role was instigated by participants themselves: involves taking some responsibility for general well-being, organising elements of shed operation and ‘go to’ person in the shed on a fortnightly roster.
The Boys’ Shed, we believe, is a unique initiative to build a stronger community by providing an opportunity for participants to grow into strong young men - thoughtful, practical, resilient, self-confident; young men who are self-aware and willing to grow into their own skin.
It is a safe and supportive environment for participants and mentors;
to be themselves
to develop social and practical skills
and to work on their own woodwork and construction projects from recycled and reclaimed timber.
It is also a place to nurture a culture of encouragement, co-operation and social responsibility as young people face their own issues within our world.