STEM Timber Frame Leadership Camp

learn from the best...

meet new people...

hands on experience...

For the first year ever, The Light Foundation partnered with Edison State Community College and held a STEM based Timber Frame Youth Camp. It is a three-day instructional and hands-on camp held at Chenoweth Trails in Greenville, Ohio. The main goal of the camp is to provide an educational program which will introduce and cultivate an appreciation for the craft of timber framing. The young timber framers gain a sense of accomplishment by crafting an incredible joinery just the way they would have done hundreds and hundreds of years ago by the early settlers that came to America from Europe. While all staying true to the craft, students will be utilizing tools from the 1800’s to complete and raise the timber frame.

Timber framing is an ancient building style that utilizes large timbers and handcrafted joinery to create beautiful and inviting homes, barns and various structures. It dates to 5,000 BC, so for 7,000 years they have been perfecting art. It died off and in recent years there has been a resurgence in the art of timber framing. We have examples of timber frames all over our Darke County from the great barns and homes to the log cabins and everything else that was utilized from the forests right here in the area.

The shed will serve Chenoweth Trails and The Light Foundation for hopefully hundreds and hundreds of years just like the old timber frames of the past. Our hope is that the young people that participate in this program can bring their grandchildren to the facilities to show them they had hands in helping build these timber frames and pass on the knowledge for generations to come.

This year there was 13 students to attend the new program that came from as far as Florida and Massachusetts with most of them being from Darke County, Ohio. They were able to work closely with some of the best instructors in the world that took the students from seeing a raw pile of timbers to helping them build a hand-crafted timber frame structure. The instructors included: JCM Timberworks, Friends of Ohio Barn Association, Tuscarora Wood MidWest LLC, Rick Beck, Raymond Friend, Mike Chrisman, and Terry Clark. All of the instructors did an incredible job teaching these kids how to do mortise and tendons, all of the little hands chisel work, working with slicks, and understanding how to respect tools.

Another exciting thing about this program is learning where the timber came from for the project. There was a tornado that went through the area during Memorial Day weekend. One of the areas effected was Russ Nature Reserve, which is part of the Greene County Parks & Trails. Kline Timber Company handled most of the timber from the disaster then ran it through his sawmill in order for him to donate the lumber for use in the STEM Timber Frame Camp. We are more than happy to be able to put the rummage from a disaster to good use while providing an interesting course for the youth!

If you have been interested in learning about and perhaps participating in a timber frame build, then this camp is for you. To be considered for the camp, students will need to complete and submit an application and provide a letter of recommendation.

During the three-day camp, students will stay at Chenoweth Trails in our yurts, so pack a bag and get ready for a timber frame adventure full of new friendships, good food, leadership, teambuilding, outdoor fun, and more.