A lesson in craft and community philanthropy

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Little Bay Boards and Petoskey High School Building Trades students donated a custom paddle board and paddle they crafted to the Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan (WRCNM). The non-profit organization will raffle the board to generate dollars to support domestic abuse and sexual assault services that are offered to survivors at no cost. Pictured with the board are (from left) Gail Kloss, WRCNM Executive Director and Jason Thelen, owner of Little Bay Boards.

About 8 years ago, Jason Thelen tried stand-up paddle boarding for the first time and described it as ‘soulful’. After that experience he began researching boards and the science behind it. He combined his interest in working with wood, his skill as a finish carpenter and his passion to create ‘floating works of art’ to launch his own paddle board business in Petoskey, Little Bay Boards.

Because he cares deeply for the planet, Thelen procures the finest hand-picked woods to create eco-friendly, hollow core boards he believes will give a lifetime of enjoyment. Because he values collaboration and cares about people, he began a program called Boards for Reasons.

Through this program Thelen began working with Petoskey High School Building Trades students to create a very special board that will be raffled by Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan (WRCNM) to help support their many programs and services. He described the project as super-cool and said the students worked diligently on the board and matching paddle, right up until the ‘glassing’ when the board comes into Thelen’s shop to apply fiberglass. Thelen supports providing opportunities for students in the trades and said the paddle board project not only got the students excited, but also provided lessons in design, construction and even calculus, geometry and science.

The resulting board is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind paddle board crafted from 60-year-old Honduran Mahogany and sustainably harvested Colorado Aspen that weighs only 30 pounds.

“We’re thrilled Little Bay Boards, along with the Building Trades students at Petoskey High School, selected the Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan as recipient of this extraordinary paddle board,” said Gail Kloss, WRCNM Executive Director. “The project of crafting the board is an excellent idea in and of itself, but then to donate the fabulous result of their efforts is such a wonderful introduction to community philanthropy for these young adults.”

WRCNM will offer 100 raffle tickets at $100 per ticket up until the raffle drawing which will be held at Petoskey High School at 1:00 p.m., Thursday, May 23, 2019.

Raffle tickets are available at the organization’s main office at 423 Porter Street, Petoskey; Gold Mine Resale Shops at 1002 Emmet Street and 1878 US-31 North, Petoskey; and Petoskey Cheese at 440 East Mitchell Street, Petoskey. The board will also be on display at Petoskey Cheese until the raffle drawing on May 23.

For more information, call the WRCNM main office at (231) 347-0067.