My son Jaak and I did the 2nd Phase of the Industry Training Authority (ITA) Trade Sampler Course, for Kitimat City High School.

Sponsored by the BCRCC Carpenters Union and the BC Piping College.

A 10 week course, it gives kids a look at the trades~carpentry, electrical, plumbing, iron working, concrete, and roofing~with an eye to giving them an intro to the Trades as a possible (and productive) career choice.

I did the 1st 2 weeks in April, solo. I took Jaak with me to finish and slipped him into the course, for a variety of reasons:

  • he’s in the same age cohort, and has over 1K hours under his belt as a 1st Yr Apprentice (plus class time theory);
  • he would meet and interact with both First Nations (Haisla) & Women In Trades students in the class.
  • hopefully he could help mentor these kids while broadening his own horizons, and absorbing cultural input.
  • he could fly fish the Skeena & Kitimat Rivers, in the Stikine Valley~top 10 salmon spots in the world.
  • I was pretty sure I would need his help on the structural part.
  • get the heck out of Dodge, and have a bit of a Road Trip, after the 15 month lockdowns.
  • Plus…all the hours in the Course count towards his Apprenticeship hours.
  • He turned 17 yrs old on the last day of the course and now Mike Motiuk can sign him up~!

It was a no brainer.

The Picnic Tables: First~We built 3 Picnic Tables;

There were some unexpected difficulties…

The Smokehouse: The concrete slab and block/brick masonry was already done.

Start: Jaak checks the level;

Fingering out the rafters from incomplete drawings: I went with a 7/12 slope, since it is virtually 30 degrees.

Clamps are invaluable. These are always in my kit.

Jaak takes the high road.

Teamwork is Dreamwork.

Completion: For smoking fish and game.

The Gazebo: 10’-0 X 10’-0”, w/ 7/12 slope gain factor.

I had them lay out the rafter dimensions on the concrete slab in the shop, snapped some chalk lines, and then they built a series of trusses to the template.

First~We did the Math on a scrap of Plywood. Just like in Real Life.

Layout: The layout and assembly to the template on the slab:

Truss Assembly: I had them pre-stain the 2” X 6” material.

And do the touch-ups:

Erection Day: Many of these pic’s were taken during breaks. Wish I had taken more pic’s.

Jaak learns to use the impact driver with his left hand~an essential skill.

Naturally~Nobody got a pic of ME, up in the rafters…

Completion: We had to go back for 3 hours on Saturday morning to finish up and tickety-boo everything.
Thus, the absence of actual Students in this pic~!!

The Roofing Crew came in on Monday to get the Tin on.


End of Course:

“OK~ Now, Let’s go fishing”: Student Adam Beam (Haisla Nation), Me and Jaak.
This was the Saturday, so I took them to Lunch and then dropped them at the river.



Finished Gazebo: Handrail & Roofing Installed.

Assorted Random Pic’s:

First Cast on the Skeena;

At 16, Jaak did a grown man’s day’s work, and made me proud.

Although BC Ferries is a vastly incompetent service, the Cabins are first rate.
Sailing time from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy (Vancouver Island) is anywhere from 16-20 hours.
No Internet. You might as well be comfortable.

I think this might be the cone of an ancient volcano. It was huge.

Some amazing images drifted by. It is an ancient and holy land.

Park Bench, in Prince Rupert.

Weather on the trip home was perfect. Windy.

Checking into my Cabin…“Hi Honey~I’m Ho-ome…”

As our kids grow up, we reach a point where the possibility (or likelihood) of travelling together becomes less certain.
They drift off and find their own wings. And their own flock. As they should, in their turn and in their time.
I am grateful for this opportunity and this experience. On so many levels.
I believe I had an honest breakthrough, on a personal level, with each & every student in the course.
“We had fun and we got ‘er dun~!”

Many thanks to Kevin Jeffery of UAPICBC for his tireless support, boundless enthusiasm, and sincere dedication to the idea
promoting the Trades career opportunities to our youth, within in the educational system.

Kitimat Project

Many thanks to Nancy Tormene, Principal, Kitimat City High School for her exceptional dedication to helping these kids prepare for real life. She was an inspiration to me, on both a personal and professional level. Thank You Nancy~!

And many thanks to BCRCC Training Coordinator Merissa Cox, for presenting the opportunity.
It’s not every day that you get a chance to make a difference.

It was a splendid Road Trip.