Works of Generosity Miramichi Senior Sawdust Makers Association

The Miramichi Senior Sawdust Makers Association are extending a sense of community well beyond their shop.

Whether they’re building tables for a nearby retirement home, or fixing benches that have fallen into disrepair, the Miramichi Senior Sawdust Makers Association clearly relish the opportunity to help others. The various projects they’ve completed so far signal not only the tangible benefits of volunteerism, but also the sense of fellowship and well-being that comes from serving a broader community.

Reg Hare has been with the Sawdust Makers from the start. Time spent in the shop is, for him, essential to staying sharp, both mentally and physically.

“We’re always looking for challenges. It’s mentally stimulating to stay on top of what’s going on here. There’s enough physical activity to keep you off the couch, and it shows.”

As Hare recalls, the Sawdust Makers began as a response to the needs of local retirees, many of whom missed the social aspects of the workplace.

Despite some inclement weather, the Sawdust Makers drew over fifty people to their inaugural meeting in February of 2014. The club’s been vital ever since, thanks in large part to its healthy blend of new and long-time members.

The Shop in Miramichi

“It feels good,” Hare says, noting that the club often logs as many as one-hundred hours of volunteer work each week. “It’s a lot better than sitting home twiddling your thumbs.”

Randall Boothby of Belmont, New Brunswick agrees. Even though he has a shop at home, the opportunity to be a part of something greater keeps him coming back.

“It’s nice to come here,” he says, “to do a little socializing and to do a little woodworking. And to see the results.” says Randall Boothby.

Contributing to the community is especially rewarding for Boothby. As he reflects on a thank-you card the Sawdust Makers received from a nearby seniors centre, it’s clear that such expressions of gratitude have left an indelible mark.

It’s a highlight,” he says, “to know that people who are older than me are enjoying what we do.”

For Mike Wyatt, a retired teacher from Fort McMurray, joining the club has given him a chance to get to know people in his recently adopted community. Even though he knew little about woodworking when he started, Wyatt has found the shop to be a welcoming place where mentors are generous with their time.

Having put aside the trepidation he initially felt about joining a new group, he now encourages others to do the same.

“It’s not as frightening as one might think,” he says. “You just got to get out there and do it.”

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