Crystal Teen, Retired Neighbor Bond Over a Bench
A Crystal teen and his retired neighbor took time to get to know each other a little better this summer. They also have something to show for their bonding experience: a bench.
“This is the first time we’ve done something like this,” said 14-year-old Sawyer Smith.
“We learned a lot about patience,” said Bruce Gaertner.
Gaertner, a design drafter, shared his carpentry skills with Sawyer, showing the teen many different tools and concepts. Over several weeks, the two constructed a white wooden bench. It’s more than a place to enjoy backyard events. It’s a labor of love between two friends.
“I was very happy to have the chance to share with Sawyer,” said Gaertner.
“A Big Thank You”
Sawyer says putting together the bench was kind of hard. He says creating the curve on the top of the bench was especially challenging.
“That was probably where my hand was shaking the most, trying to do my best,” Sawyer said.
The unique bonding experience occurred because Sawyer’s dad, Shawn Smith, was trying to find something for the teen to do over the summer and thought it would be a cool idea for him to learn carpentry skills. His dad says he knows there’s a shortage of tradesmen so exposing Sawyer to those opportunities is important.
“I don’t really know those skills and I’m lucky enough to have a neighbor that does,” said Shawn Smith.
Not only did his son learn woodworking, but life lessons of being a good neighbor.
“For someone to make a bench with me, have to teach me how to do everything, pretty much a big thank you,” said Sawyer.
The teen enjoyed the experience so much, he plans to take woodworking in class when he returns to school.