Deb Brown, co-founder of SaveYour.Town, joins us today to share a story about a group of guys she met in Akron, Iowa.
I’ve been talking about the old boys at the coffee clubs for a long time, and usually as members of the Committee of Negativity. You know them – they meet for coffee and complain. It seems their town can’t do anything right, and they are the guys to point it out.
I visited Akron, Iowa and spent 3 days there as part of an Embedded Community Experience. I got to sit down with several coffee groups and hear what they had to complain about. One of those groups was the Old Geezer Club.
They had a few complaints, nothing unusual in a small town. However, the complaint that stuck out the most was different. They wanted to know why the town wasn’t taking advantage of their workspace.
They have the Old Geezer’s Workspace – a makerspace. A place where anyone can come and do some wood working, scrapbooking, welding or whatever.
HOLY TOLEDO! These guys have donated tools for anyone to use. And if you need help, or just company, they will come and help. The space is basement of the old hospital, and is dry, with several rooms you can use anyway you like. They simply ask that you be careful and ‘don’t do anything stupid’. You can go by the Coffee Club (it’s upstairs) any morning between 5:30 and 8:30 to get into the space, or make arrangements to get in. There is no charge to use it.
Now this is what I call brilliant! Lots of old guys: some farmers, some businessmen, all local. They have donated their tools, time and help. They found their own place and work with the city to make it happen. They pay the rent (if you drink coffee with them it cost you 50 cents and that goes towards rent and other things). They’d love to see students come in and work, and ask for help.
I just betcha every small town has an Old Geezer’s Makerspace somewhere!
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Deb Brown comes from a farm outside of Geneva, Iowa, population 141. Her heart lies in sharing the possibilities for small towns. Deb travels a lot, taking back roads when possible, and talking to the locals, sharing stories of other small towns and encouraging anyone who will listen. She’s the co-founder of www.saveyour.town and owner of Building Possibility.