Dad was a maker.
I didn't realize it until years later but the signs were there from my earliest memories. I had one of those Fisher-Price "radio" toys...you know, with the music box movement and a little window that would show the story as attached to the unwinding spring. One day the music played no more but it wasn't long before Dad presented me with a repaired radio - with a better movement and a sweet flat black finish. Turns out he pretty much rebuilt the thing out in our garage.
This was no big for Pops...he had been working on and modifying his own cars since his pre-teens (which explains why he finished my refurbished radio with an awesome "Mooneyes" decal). A couple of years later he trumped that project with a custom kid-sized go-cart. He was a wizard with tools and could disassemble, fabricate and rebuild pretty much anything.
So it really seemed as Dad was walking with me when I first explored Gene Sherman's Vocademy. The modest front office leads into a labryinth of rooms...each of them full of the kinds of machines and gadgets that we had out in the garage (and then some). If you can make it anywhere you can probably make it at Vocademy. Have no skills (or clue)? No worries...this place is designed for you too. You can sign up for a class and learn from experienced makers from your own community. Enjoying yourself? Indulge in a full membership and make it your hangout.
There is no way I can describe the attractions and benefits of Vocademy in a few paragraphs. Gene Sherman has created a real, live experiment of learning, building, networking and community open to all who have a desire to make things. Interested in 3-D printers and how to design for them? Vocademy is the place. Making your own costume for Comic Con? You'll absolutely expand your possibilities with a few classes at Vocademy.
It was FUN talking to Gene. His life story is fascinating. His motivation and enthusiasm are infectious. His vision for makerspaces and how they can add value to our community and our country is inspiring.
This Saturday, October 4th, Vocademy presents the very first Inland Empire Mini Maker Faire in the Vocademy parking lot: "At the IE Mini Maker Faire, you'll find arts and crafts, science and engineering, costume and props, music, fire and water but what makes this event special is that all these interesting projects and smart, creative people belong together. They are actively and openly creating a maker culture."
You can get more info about the event through the link below. Bring the whole family...it's reallly going to be something new and special for Riverside and the I.E.
Oh, that toy radio? I still have it. My dad the maker left a lot of things for me to hold in my hands. I'm thankful for that. Miss you, Dad.
- Ralph from Riverside