Brad Kerr, 39, formerly of New York, now resides in Hamilton, N,Y. Several years ago, he went through profound changes that prompted him to take a step back and take a good look at where he was in his life. What Kerr saw motivated him to consider taking a gap year, a kind of sabbatical, to reassess exactly what he wanted and needed.
While researching how he might spend this year, Kerr recalled a friend praising a carpentry apprentice program in Maine. When that program was no longer available, he came across the apprenticeship program at The Carpenter’s Boat Shop and liked what he read. However, the deadline for applications was the following day. Kerr immediately filled out and submitted her application. Shortly 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, during which time his work became less and less satisfying, Kerr hoped his time at Carpenter’s Boat Shop would give him some quiet time to reflect on his future, allow him to take risks as opposed to just rolling along, and teaching 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 his job. He also learned that it’s okay to make mistakes because they offer valuable lessons.
The Carpenter’s Boat Shop is staffed by master carpenters who teach apprentices boat building, boat restoration and general carpentry skills. Right now, Kerr and his cronies are restoring a boat that was built in the 1950s, and he’s really enjoying the work.
Apprentices not only learn the art and craft of building and restoring wooden boats, 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’s not all work and no play. Among other leisure activities, Kerr mentioned that apprentices and staff collectively do the Lincoln County News crossword puzzle each week.
People are invited to stop by The Carpenter’s Boat Shop for tea time Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 10:25 a.m. to meet Kerr and his fellow apprentices to learn more about each and the learning program itself.
The Carpenter’s Boat Shop is located at 440 Old County Road, Pemaquid (Bristol).