It is a tough time to be getting tossed out into the “real world”. That’s what a lot of them call it, the high school kids I see in my classroom every day. These kids are crazy powerful. Give them ten focused minutes and their smartphone and they can become conversant in just about any subject you throw their way. But when they make those first forays into that real world, they are finding that colleges have cut their intended major and there is a guy with an M.B.A. bussing the tables at the restaurant where they were trying to land a job. A lot of these kids come back defeated. Those of us that are in the business of working with these young women and men in the last stages before they graduate into adulthood have seen a generation ground down by constant talk of dried up jobs and foreclosed homes. Too many in this most promising generation, the group of kids who have been Googling since they were five, have given up and resigned themselves to playing X-Box and eating Hot Pockets in their parents’ living room, just waiting it out and hoping things get better.
But it is a teacher’s job to make their students grow into their potential. So a group of us are getting together to show these soon to be twenty somethings just how powerful they are. A cohort of five teachers at Rancho Cotate High School in Rohnert Park, California are teaming up with the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company and local clean technology leaders to journey with our students through a project we call “89 Square Feet Off the Grid”. Using Tumbleweed’s Epu plans as the foundation, students will build the home’s trailer in Welding class, frame and do the finish carpentry in Woods class, design and install the clean technology systems (a solar PV system, a composting toilet, and a water cistern and filtration system) in AutoCAD class, and will study the math and science behind it all in Geometry in Construction and in Physics.
We tell them that they, more than any other generation before them, have the power to design their world, to bring their dreams and ideas to life, and they are starting to get it. As they pour over the blueprints and start to see the material flowing in, there is an excitement building. The freedom and vision that a tiny house on wheels represents is winning them over. And while they might have been born into strange and challenging times that can wear at their young spirits, they are beginning to see what they are capable of building. Our hope is that while it might start by building “89 Square Feet Off the Grid”, they will take the lessons learned on this journey and continue to design and dream their way out of all the challenges they face in our rapidly evolving world.
They hold so much promise, more then we have let them see with our doomsday news cycle and our adult cynicism. They are rising up to the challenge of this project, just as they will rise up to the challenging times they have inherited. And then we will see just how powerful they truly are.
Cole Smith is an educator at Ranch-Cotate High School in Rohnert Park, CA. He will share the progress of his student build on a regular basis as a guest blogger for Tumbleweed.
We are in search of Tumbleweed Tiny House builders! If you built a Tumbleweed or had one built for you and are currently living in it, we'd love to hear from you. Help us share your story and pictures of your tiny house experience with Tumbleweed fans.
Send us an email support [at] tumbleweedhouses.com and let us know which model you built and in what city you're located. You can help inspire tiny house enthusiasts to finally build that Weebee and join the tiny house movement!
The first Tumbleweed Tiny House is on the market and you're invited to join the current owners and Derek "Deek" Diedricksen at an open house! Tour the first Tumbleweed Tiny House on Saturday, May 12, 2012 and if you're interested, take it home with you! Deek will also have some Boston Workshop tickets available too! RSPV for the event and get location details on our Facebook event page.
A couple of students at Emerson College shot this video tour of the Epu with Deek to give you a glimpse inside this little Epu model. Check it out!
Our friends Evan & Gabby shared with us this excellent video. If you've always wanted to see the process of building a Tumbleweed tiny house from start to finish, this is the video for you. Thanks guys!
Holy mega, kick-butt, over-the-top, line-up for the Boston Tumbleweed Workshop!
If you haven't signed up yet for our Boston Tiny House Building Workshop, May 19th and 20th, 2012, here are a few reasons to get your kiester in gear! This one will be hosted by our own Derek "Deek" Diedricksen, tiny house/shelter builder, Tiny Yellow House TV host, and author of "Humble Homes, Simple Shacks"....
We just added more guests to make this workshop an amazing learning experience!
JOHN HANSON MITCHELL- author of "Living At The End Of Time". John built and lived in a tiny, off-the-grid, Victorian cottage in the woods, not far from Walden Woods, and wrote the aforementioned novel about his experiences. This book is incredible and inspiring, not to mention one of the best I've read in awhile.
MARIAH COZ- of www.cometcamper.wordpress.com- who rescued a vintage Avalon camper, and is in the process of revamping it to serve as a traveling classroom to exemplify small and green living. Mariah's great! She's high energy, and very motivated to tour with her mobile dwelling and spread the word about living lightly.
And again, we'll be visiting the original Tumbleweed (an Epu), built in the early 1990s.
Sun depending, Deek might bust out one of his solar ovens to demo on the tiny house lot in downtown Boston.
We are looking forward to sharing an awesome workshop with all our New England tiny house fans. Click here to get your Boston workshop tickets now!