A recent grant from Squamish Savings means the Men's Group of the Southern Stl'atl'lmx Health Society (SSHS) can continue with a program that passes on skills and forges great teamwork.
The $60,000 grant — $30,000 for each of two years — affords the continuation of the building of three cabins, the first of which has been donated to a daycare in Tipella. The project allowed the members to get up to speed with notching wood, using power saws and gaining valuable construction experience.
Micah Thevarge, one of the Men's Health leaders employed by the SSHS — along with Edwin Bikadi and Francis Billy — said two other cabins will be built in the area.
"We're going through four different communities and there's got to be anywhere from 60 to 70 guys," said Thevarge. "And we're thinking of building one to sell to someone. We're trying to figure out ways to generate income."
The building is literal and figurative as the men foster trust, support and friendship. The group had previously explored traditional activities such as hiking, hunting, fishing and net-making.
"There's a few of us employed by SSHS and together we're a pretty good team," he said. "Teaching — there's really nothing like it. To be a part of this is pretty amazing."
Thevarge said the program is working as members get the chance to learn about traditional log-home building.
The group meets regularly in each community on a rotating basis to maintain ties but also because what they're doing just seems to work.
Up next could be projects with an eye to sustainability.
"We're actually pretty interested in log cabins," said Thevarge. "We want to get good enough at it — maybe we can help out a community member to build their own house. Another opportunity — we're not certain about it — there's other things we could be doing with cabins, such as building cabins in campgrounds.
"Usually things die out because people lose interest, but we're still actually growing. People here learn, so it's pretty neat. The sky is the limit.
"We're having fun," he said.