Three years ago, a few guys gathered together over coffee, and mused about what it would like to have a place where we could:
Build cool stuff,
Build back into our community, and
Build up one another.
We dreamt of a 4,000-5,000 sq. ft. workshop with a cool social space where we could meet, learn, and stay well together.
Men's Shed Vernon was born...
Guys started coming...
We met the Cantalope family, who really identified with the need for men to thrive by hanging out together "Shoulder to Shoulder".
Wade and Julia and their whole team welcomed us into a space at their "Elephant Storage" business, so that we could incubate this Men's Shed dream.
And in spite of marginal heat, no running water, and no parking, the guys kept coming, and we continued to share about THE DREAM
One day, this guy named "Jim" from the Allan Brooks Nature Centre stopped by to check out Men's Shed, and mentioned a Bee Box project he would like to have built. We were up for it.
Jim also proclaimed (correctly), that our old hand me down hand tools were in terrible condition! He left, and returned an hour later with an armload of new Makita Pro. And so, a new relationship began.
Since then, Men's Shed Vernon's 60+ members have built more than fifty projects for other non profit groups in and around our community, including some cool stuff for Allan Brooks Nature Centre.
Like all the guys who cheerfully give of their time, talents, & resources at "The Shed" , Jim has become a Men's Shed Vernon Guy, and an integral part of what we strive to do here...
Our community has welcomed Men's Shed.
We have new and valued friends and champions at Kal Rotary, Community Foundation North Okanagan, local media, and so many more.
We've formed valuable new partnerships with local companies to contribute our skills and to help pay our bills.
Yet, we needed a break to make the dream a reality...
In 2020, The Vernon Doctor's Hockey Tournament Leadership had heard about, and liked our work to improve men's well being, and gave us a call.
We spent time together discussing our vision, plans, and abilities to manage a significant gift. We also offered to match their contribution to further demonstrate our commitment to the dream.
We are so grateful for the encouragement that this support granted to us. It has enabled us to actually go shopping for the place of our dreams....
OH MY GOSH!!!
...a 3,100 sq. ft. shop with high ceilings and skylights. A 900 sq. ft. social space. A 1300 sq ft covered outdoor dock space. Heat and running water! PARKING!!
We're not in Kansas any more, Dorothy!
We had JUST enough money in hand to step out, but still felt apprehensive about such a big commitment
Well, it turns out that our Men's Shed Guy "Jim" Popowich and his wife Laverne have the gift of generosity. Through the Jim and Laverne Popowich Foundation , they have encouraged many worthy initiatives that make the Okanagan a great place to call home.
Jim and Laverne have graciously stepped in with a legacy gift to Men's Shed Vernon that solidifies our ability to honour the lease on our new address, and to make a number of the improvements necessary to move in this summer.
And There's More...
A suite of quality tools from Jim's late brother Doug's shop will be installed in the new Men's Shed facility to truly make this a legacy. How fitting.
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