In the late Spring of 2018, it was felt that Mississippi Mills with its diverse population and growing retired segment would be a perfect fit for a shed.
Our shed is called Naismith to honour our town's association with Dr James Naismith, the creator of basketball who came from Almonte which is inside the Town of Mississippi Mills and reflects the values he held dear such as a healthy body and mind. The family and his grandson are delighted by our choice of name.
Men Sheds presence is global with chapters in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. They have been around for 10 years or more. They offer men a social circle to belong to and a lifeline to men in crisis due to depression, isolation, bereavement or feelings of low esteem.
The Naismith shed boasts over forty members at last count and continues to grow. In addition to the friendship that shedders enjoy with each other, it also contributes to the community. So far it has completed several projects, including the assembly of raised accessible garden beds adjacent to the Community Friendship Ovens near the Almonte branch of the Mississippi Mills Public Library.
We built solitary bee condos for the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust workshop located at High Lonesome near Pakenham. It proved to be a fantastic friendship building opportunity for the shedder team who assembled these structures. It was a learning experience that helped bring us closer together.
In November of 2018, we finalized agreements for two locations from which to work. We now have a space to meet and a "Shed with public exposure" at the Mill of Kintail Conservation Area and also a spectacular workshop in Appleton. The Mill of Kintail Gatehouse is where the shed met every second and fourth Thursday at 10AM. On the first and third Thursday, we meet for breakfast at 8:00 AM at The Superior restaurant on Mill Street in Almonte. This has since been changed to the Gourmet Restaurant in Carleton Place. It is tough finding a restaurant that can handle/sit a membership of 40-plus (although the maximum turnout has been 21).
The Appleton workshop is a place where shedders can enjoy making things shoulder to shoulder.
Now four years old and facing a new year hopefully brimming with new opportunities, we shedders have already built bat-houses for the Canadian Wildlife Federation, bluebird houses for the local field naturalists, thunder boxes for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - Ottawa Valley Chapter and an assortment of Christmas ornaments like reindeer and decorative sleighs.
All of this work, or simply socializing and enjoying each others company, gives men the chance to meet on their terms and do guy things.