Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Our Mission in Making

Our family began this Make club inspired by Maker Faire, and our need to address learning with consideration for neural-diversity. For nearly a decade we have been bringing our projects and hands-on activities to STEM and art events, and school functions, including Maker Faires, Burning Man, FIRST Robotics, Fanime, ComicCon, The Science March, and International Scratch Day. We also host our own events where we mentor and peer-teach sewing, soldering, metal forging, design, CAD, CnC, 3D printing, cooking, gardening, art, sculpting, crafts, crochet, wool felting, embroidery, cosplay, shelter making, electronics, programming, construction, and robotics. We love to make opportunities for sharing skills, and helping people find answers, support, and resources for making things. We especially want to support young people, and people with limited resources and opportunities. We do all of this out of pocket, in our free time, between schools and jobs.

A few years ago I found a box of note books in a thrift store. They were small and plain, and what I consider very handy, because of their size, and being well made, but not so expensive or fancy that they were too precious. I love small things and notebooks, so I was super stoked about my find. Then I started using my Scout books and felt a greedy panic! I loved them, found them convenient and helpful, and I worried about finding more, and whether I’d have to conserve the few I had. Fortunately, I discovered more in shops, and breathed a big sigh of relief.

I use my Scout books to gift, and for travel notes that include important numbers, flight info and reservations and then each book can become a little scrap book of the trip, and I add stickers and any ephemera I collect, sketches, and observations. I have a Scout Book for birding, and another with class notes for oil painting. They slip in my small purse, or back pocket; compact and convenient!

This is not a paid endorsement. No one asked me to promote Scout Books. I just happened to find them on IG today, and it got me thinking about our club branding, how we present Benevolent Order of Makers on social media. We had a logo for our initial blog and club, when we were "Love & Rockets, Art & Engineering." But for years we have been promising ourselves an updated logo, business cards, a Look. And those thoughts lead me to revisiting ideas about who we are, what our club means to us, and where we would like to go. I've been a bit neglectful of this blog, but posting quite regularly on IG at @BOoMNerds... this seems like a good chance to revisit our mission, our ideals, here on the blog, and to share my thoughts on considering using Scout Books as a tool and outreach connection.

When we mentor, or share our projects, we love to instill the idea in people’s minds that their interests and ideas are worthwhile and achievable. No matter the age or skill level of the people we are connecting with, we want them to feel encouraged and capable, and so we put tools in their hands, we listen to them, and explore their ideas with them. I’m thinking of how nice it would be to put a Scout Book into a child’s hands and say, “Let’s make a drawing of your idea, and write down some thoughts. An engineer, an artist, always keeps notes.” Our notes, our ideas and plans, written down, committed to paper have such a dignity and permanence; it gives us credibility, some empowerment. In Benevolent Order of Makers, all of our projects begin with a conversation that inevitably moves to paper where we sketch, doodle, write lists, make plans, and Scout Books make an ideal tool for this stage of the process.

For myself, I have found that when I feel unsure or tentative, I write small, I draw small. Sometimes, children feel their lack of expertise means they aren't capable of contributing, or having a "legitimate" voice in a process. A Scout Book is small and intimate, a private and personal space, and with its quality of design, it gives credibility and "officialness" to a person's ideas and efforts. I’m thinking about ordering Scout books to use as a tool, a calling card to represent our mission and ideals. I like to believe that it would be a nice way to introduce our club, and it would initiate and support what we believe in, what we want everyone to believe... we have good ideas, we can develop plans, and learn, we can make, we can play, and we can share.

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