FCTS Construction of Cabin at Camp Kee-wanee a “Win-Win”
GREENFIELD, MA – At the end of 1 Health Camp Road, the ringing sound of students banging nails resonates above the trees.
It’s the end of the school year, but Franklin County Technical School Carpentry shop students are hard at work building a cabin at Camp Kee-wanee, a summer camp for kids 4-14 years old nestled in the woods at the end if a dirt road. Camp Kee-wanee is one of many camps sponsored by Kiwanis International, a worldwide organization serving the needs of children through local service projects and fundraising.
Ron and Sharyn Woods have been executive directors of the local camp for many years, and they couldn’t be happier to have the tech school building the new cabin. This is the first project that the school has done for the camp, but there are more to come.
“As a small nonprofit organization, to have a relationship with the local tech school is wonderful,” Ron Wood said. “It allows local youth come up and work on their vocation, and it gives us a price break.”
Carpentry instructor Michael Nobrega said the 20 by 30 foot cabin is the first of three his students will be building in the coming years. Due to structural deterioration, the camp had to tear down one of the original cabins built in 1922 to make room for the new one.
“This project is a win-win, one non-profit helping out another,” Nobrega said. “This is hands-on work, which is so important for the students. It’s real world trade experience. It’s helping out the local community. I’m really pleased that the students have this opportunity.”
In the past, Franklin County Technical School carpentry, electrical, plumbing and heating, and landscaping students built houses in locations around Franklin County. It had been a few years since the school had built a house, but this school year, besides the cabin at Camp Kee-wanee, the students began construction on a house in Erving, and will begin construction on another house after school resumes in September.
Brandon Wilson, a sophomore from Orange, said he prefers smaller projects, but likes building the cabin.
“This is a cool project,” he said. “I like how it came from just a couple of pillars to a nice frame. This is good experience working in the field.”
Skylar Rouse of Bernardston said he has experience building a garage with his great-grandfather, which helped him when constructing the cabin.
“I like knowing that we’re building this for a good cause,” the sophomore said. “It’s for the camp and the kids will be able to use it.”
Sophomore Brooke Romanovicz said she enrolled in the Franklin County Tech Carpentry program because she took a woodworking course while a student at Frontier Regional School and liked it. She hopes to be a carpenter when she graduates from FCTS.
“I like saying that I can build something,” the Conway resident said. “It’s not as hard as I thought.”