Brad Kerr, age 39, formerly of New York City, now resides in Hamilton, N,Y. Several years ago, he experienced some profound changes that prompted him to step back and take a good hard look at where he was in his life. What Kerr saw motivated him to contemplate taking a year off, sort of a gap year, to reevaluate exactly what he wanted and needed.
In researching how he might spend this year, Kerr recalled that a friend had spoken highly of an apprentice woodworking program in Maine. While that program was no longer available, he came upon the apprentice program at The Carpenter’s Boat Shop and liked what he read. However, the deadline for applications was the next day. Kerr immediately completed and submitted his application. Not long after, he was called for an interview and was accepted into this year’s program.
After spending a decade working for an international development agency, in which his work became less and less satisfying, Kerr was hoping that his stay at The Carpenter’s Boat Shop would afford him some quiet time to think about his future, allow him to take risks as opposed to just coasting along, and teach him a new skill. Since arriving at The Carpenter’s Boat Shop in September, Kerr has found that for the first time in a long time he really cares about the work. He has also learned that it is OK to make mistakes, as they afford valuable lessons.
The staff of The Carpenter’s Boat Shop consists of master carpenters who instruct apprentices in boat-building, boat restoration, and general woodworking skills. At the moment, Kerr and his cohorts are restoring a boat built in the 1950s, and he very much enjoys the work.
Apprentices not only learn the art and craft of wooden boatbuilding and restoration, but by living in community, sharing thoughts and ideas, and learning new skills, they are empowered to find new directions in their lives.
However, it is not all work and no play. Among other leisure activities, Kerr mentioned that apprentices and staff collectively do The Lincoln County News crossword puzzle every week.
People are invited to stop by The Carpenter’s Boat Shop for teatime Monday through Friday from 10-10:25 a.m. to meet Kerr and his fellow apprentices to learn more about each of them and the apprenticeship program itself.
The Carpenter’s Boat Shop is located at 440 Old County Road, Pemaquid (Bristol).