Since nobody else has stepped into place, it looks like I'm the closest thing we've got to a leader on this thing. That'll do for now, I guess.
So - here's how I envision it, working from suggestions we've already gotten mixed with my own interpretation:
The Robert "Limey" Bolton Memorial International Mentorship and Assistance Programme. For the sake of my fingertips, I'm just going to call it "the Programme" for now.
How it works:
I see the Programme as a loose-knit group of individual shops, each operated by one or more Members of the Programme, each with its own unique capabilities, character, and limitations. Each participating Member will be willing to open their shop to woodworkers whose resources are more limited than their own - whether that means complete beginners who haven't got any clues, or financially or otherwise challenged woodworkers who for whatever reason cannot have their own shop (yet?), or individuals who aren't yet sure about their interest in woodworking - or who lack self-confidence in their abilities - and want to try things out without making a big investment.
I see each shop providing guidance, shop space, lighting, equipment availability, and power, free of charge to these "clients". Depending upon the Members' resources, materials may or may not also be provided free. The "clients" approach their nearest Member who seems to have the resources for whatever projects they'd like to work on, schedule shop time with those Members according to the Members' own schedules (none of can do this 24-7), and come design (optional) and build (optional) or fix (optional) or restore (optional)... wooden things. Benches. Boxes. Stools. Birdhouses. Kitchen cabinetry. Furniture. Gunstocks. Smoking pipes. Carvings. Hollow vessels. Whatever.
When each project is completed, the finished product would be auctioned or otherwise sold to fund that shop's expenses... unless the individual Member elects to do otherwise.
Note that the Programme isn't here to GIVE people FISH, it's here to TEACH people how to fish for themselves, to provide exposure to the necessary equipment and resources, to give people a chance where they may not otherwise have had a chance. It's "paying it forward", passing the legacy on. It's doing for others what many of us would have found valuable when we were just beginning. The Clients come away from our shops not with a bunch of free stuff, but with experience, knowledge, skills, familiarity with machines & tools, self-respect, and inspiration. They come away with their candles lit, to light other candles later on.
I envision each shop having, "in a conspicuous place", a certificate or plaque announcing that shop's Membership in the Programme. I propose that a unified design be selected so that we all have the same certificate or wooden plaque, indicating unquestionably that we're Members of the same Programme. I'd like to suggest that Leo make those plaques... but that each shop FUND the plaque for its own shop. I envision a lot of plaques, and it certainly wouldn't be fair to Leo to make them all without compensation. For those shops with too limited resources to fund a plaque, an unframed certificate would be available to be framed by the Member.
What we need:
* We need a unified liability-waiver form. I'd be happy to pay for one to be written up. That form should "hold harmless" the Programme Member from liability except in cases of gross negligence or malice. That form would be distributed freely to all members of the Programme to be copied for use in each shop connected to the Programme. A fresh copy should be signed every time any "client" visits any shop connected to the Programme for good coverage, unless it's written to cover liability "for all perpetuity".
* We need exposure. To that end I move that this forum set up a "conference" just for this purpose, where each Member can announce their membership. I further move that a link to that "conference" be placed in the "New to Woodworking" thread where brand-new members can find it. The "Programme" conference (whatever name it takes on) will contain one overall summary page to provide a description of what the Programme is, how it works, how it does NOT work, etc. In addition, that conference will contain one announcement thread per shop. In the initial post for any individual shop, the Member will (1) announce their membership, (2) describe their location (including country), (3) describe their shop's specialties, capabilities, and limitations, and (4) provide contact information (email address, PM-only disclaimer, phone number, times to call, etc).
* We need networking, communication between shops, a connection to other shops with different capabilities or different local resources or in different locations. With that networking in place, a Member can refer a Client to another Member's shop as necessary. For example, if a Client wants to do woodturning but their closest Member doesn't have that capacity, that Member can quickly identify another shop nearby that offers woodturning. Likewise, if a Client plans to do some traveling and wants to visit other shops - there's a list. If a Client wants to work with Manzanita or Black Locust... it's easy to contact a Member living in an area where those woods are readily available.
All this is, of course, subject to input from others - nothing's cast in stone.
Here's your chance - gimme input & direction... and sing it out.
-- Tim --
Member of the
Robert "Limey" Bolton Memorial
Volunteer Mentorship and Assistance