For the last 15 years, Lawrence Family Development & Education Fund, Inc. and YouthBuild Lawrence have sponsored The Carpentry Challenge, an exciting competition that showcases the talent of YouthBuild students from all over New England. Every year a number of YouthBuild supporters from state government, local communities, and the press gather to watch as up to fourteen teams of students work to frame three intersecting walls with accuracy, efficiency, and safety.
The Carpentry Challenge is more than just a competition though. In addition to competing against each other in the construction pit, students will also work side by side with their fellow YouthBuilders, as well as with the Lawrence/Methuen Community Coalition (LMCC) and Disabled American Veterans (DAV) to complete a service project that will benefit military veterans.
How It Works:
Each program registers a team through MYBC Director Terry Moran or YouthBuild Lawrence Director April Lyskowsky. Teams consist of one coach and six or more student members. Regardless of how many participants a team brings, only six at a time are allowed in the construction "pit" (a 25 foot by 25 foot square workspace blocked off with "caution" tape) to work on the project. In addition to a competitive team, each program is responsible for supplying the following:
1. A Referee: Referees will be YouthBuild staff or other volunteers with construction experience. It will be their responsibility to monitor each team for safety violations, over-coaching and foul language -- for which there are penalties assessed. Referees will rotate teams every fifteen minutes or so to ensure impartiality throughout the competition.
2. Community Service Volunteers: Instead of working in the pit, these students will cooperate with other YouthBuilders from around New England to complete a service project that will be presented to the veterans for whom they were built at the end of the competition.
3. Tools: Each team will supply its own tools, both power and hand. This will include saw horses, ladders, and safety equipment. No tools will be supplied by YouthBuild Lawrence or Home Depot. Neither laser levels nor pneumatic gas/powder activated tools are allowed, however the use of electric tools is acceptable.
Starting at 9:15AM, students teams will have approximately three hours to frame three intersecting walls complete with window and door openings based on measurements determined the morning of the competition. Once a team has completed their project to specifications, they declare it to the judges and their time is recorded. After a team has declared, no alterations can be made.
When all programs are through, judges will begin the process of evaluating each project one by one. They will look for things like: level walls, square intersections, correct framing, correct door/window size, etc. For each error a certain amount of time will be added to the program's total. The team with the fastest time after the judges have assessed each project will be declared the 16th Annual Carpentry Challenge Champion. The day will then conclude with the award ceremony and service project presentation.
Set to take place on May 14th at The Home Depot in Methuen, MA, The 16th Annual Carpentry Challenge is sure to be one of the most exciting days all year for the students, staff, and supporters of YouthBuild from all over New England. We hope to see you there.