In November of last year, Damascus Way opened a new program with the partnership of Scott County Community Corrections. This collaborative effort allowed Damascus Way to lease a beautiful property and house in the city of Shakopee, where up to 4 individuals can live while participating in our program. Recently, the Shakopee House celebrated its first successful graduate, Steve! While living at the Shakopee House over the last few months, Steve was able to assist in the launch and initial stages of our new wood working program, staged inside one of the spare garages at the house. The woodshop, which we have dubbed “Kainos Woodshop,” brings together residents, staff and volunteers and is an exciting new extension of our Shakopee program. While it is a work in progress, the vision for the Kainos Woodshop is that it will catalyze relationships, connection and build various skills. Shakopee Site Director Todd Quiggle and volunteer Dan Battcher have been essential to the initiation and continued progress of this woodshop!
The story behind how the woodshop got started involves the heart, vision and initiative Dan Battcher. Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Dan about himself, the woodshop and some ideas around its purpose and potential. Dan comes from 33 years of experience in the field of financial advising and retired about a year ago. Alongside his career, Dan has had a long-standing interest and investment in carpentry and woodworking. Over the years, he has learned how to build a large assortment of household furniture products as well as miscellaneous garden and yard pieces. Whether for himself or for family and friends, Dan has made everything from tables and chairs, to drawers and bookshelves. He has built up (no pun intended) a significant repertoire of lumber projects of which he has successfully completed. For a period of time Dan was part of the Eden Prairie Workshop Club and while there he continued to hone his carpentry knowledge and skills even further.
Dan was made aware of Damascus Way through the ministry of another of our donor partners, Jim Seemann, who has donated hygiene kits to our facilities. After joining Crossview Lutheran church in Edina, Dan noticed a request for decor and other items in the church bulletin. The request was from our new Shakopee site. After reaching out and getting in touch with the Shakopee site director, Todd Quiggle, Dan began to dialogue with Todd and it wasn’t long before the idea of implementing some kind of wood working program on-site emerged! Eventually a friend of Dan’s donated a table saw and Dan began to work with the residents at the house on various carpentry projects. Because the Shakopee House has a large spare garage with more than enough space for woodworking and storage, staff and residents began to utilize this area for cutting and measuring the lumber before assembling the pieces together. The idea of creating a woodshop was soon born. Dan and Todd started formulating ideas about what the woodshop could become and a host of ideas sprang forth. After some trial and error, two kinds of wood products became the go-to products; garden obelisks and fan trellises.
Dan and Todd have both shared about the confidence that working with wood has brought the residents, but also the social skills, discipline and pride that comes with building something. Challenges are presented and problem solving is a must. So is learning to work with others and to communicate well. Several of the residents have even been able to bring their own children to the woodshop to learn about and work with the materials. For Steve’s son, this was his first time working with a power saw (under supervision of course!) and he thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
It is Dan’s hope to get more and more volunteers involved. “The more the better.” He said. The woodshop creates new experiences and restores relationships. At the end of the day, it gives men something to be proud of.
The name “Kainos” is inspired by the Greek word for “new, fresh in development and not found exactly like this before.” This word is used in several New Testament passages and represents a state of renewal. A perfect example of this is drawn from 2 Corinthians 5:17, which states, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (NIV). Kainos, therefore, wonderfully illustrates our vision for individual spiritual transformation.
Going forward, it is the hope to solidify a base of clientele for Kainos Woodshop (churches, local nurseries, gardens and community members). The hope is to begin selling fan trellises and garden obelisks this spring. Interest has already been shown and a one or two products have also been sold! Once some initial success and progress has been made, the Shakopee House will seek to add other projects to the catalog of the woodshop, like quilt rack/ladders and window boxes for plants.
There are at least two significant ways you can get involved with Kainos Woodshop. The first is to purchase products that may interest you. The garden obelisks are selling for $150 a piece (which when compared to Home Depot is a very reasonable price, particularly considering the cost of production, the labor time and the quality of the product – thick hardwood, rather than thin, brittle lumber). The fan trellises are being sold for $40 a piece.
The second way you can help is to donate supplies, particularly tools and screws. Here are some of the items needed:
1.) A Ryobi Finish Nailer (18v 16 gauge).
2.) Clamps: Bar clamps (4) and Spring clamps (4).
3.) Screws ( 2.5″ as well as 1 and 5/8″screws).
4.) A Push Broom.
5.) A Miter Saw.
We appreciate all the support and interest! Stay tuned and please contact us this spring to order a product or to get connected. All proceeds will go directly to the residents themselves and to the provision of supplies for Kainos Woodshop!
If you are interested please contact the following people:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com (Please email both Todd and Dan)
Phone: 612-715-3959 (Todd Quiggle). 952-999-1676 (Dan Battcher).
-Executive Assistant, Josiah Callaghan