Calvin, woodshop, ranch

After my morning shift at VolCom and lunch in the park with Kristen, I went to seed me’s office for a meeting with Jeff and a man named Calvin.

On my way past Milagros, I saw Calvin sitting on a bench and invited him on up to the office. Calvin was wearing a sunhat, glasses and a full beard. Originally from Louisiana, he has traveled around near and far, hitch hiking along the way. He is very intelligent and polite, greeting everyone with a smile. Last summer he was camping out along the river at the Sand Dunes, completely homeless, staying at the shelter from time to time. Now, he’s living in an RV on a man’s property in Crestone, tending to the farm in return. He hitchiked to town early this morning, stopping at VolCom’s office to print out some business cards for his landlord. While working on the land, he’s also begun making hemp jewelry and panhandles when needed. At age 57, he says he is starting to finally feel his age and doesn’t know how much longer he’ll be able to lift 100 pound bales. He is such an interesting man and I’m really looking forward to hearing more of his story.

Anyway, we met with him to get his perspective on seed me’s rough draft of a business plan. He pulls out his laptop, opens up the word document on one side of his screen, and little sticky notes on the other side. He made sure to number each line of our business plan to correspond with his notes along the side.

We were given a lot of great feedback and suggestions and he plans on writing up his own business plan to compare and swap notes with us.

We’ll definitely be in contact with him during this planning phase, but he will certainly be a potential client for seed me as well.

After meeting with Calvin, Jeff and I went over to meet Jim Relyea, the woodshop professor at Trinidad State Junior College and Alamosa High School. Jim says his class is made up of students from the age 16 to 65. They make beautiful woodwork, particularly bowls.

We pitched a few ideas to him and his face lit up with excitement. There is potential we will be working with his students to build our prototype displays that will be placed in Milagros, Hunt Avenue Boutique and both Rainbow’s End stores. We also asked him if he’d be interested in participating in a prototyping/innovation session and he was just as interested.

Our plan is to partner with Jim and the rest of the woodworking students—not only to get some displays made, but to have them as seed me clients. Jim told one story of a student who was in his class, working on a wooden bowl, but was homeless. He was living back and forth between a few friend’s homes and ended up dropping out because it became too difficult for him to remain in the class. He still owes Jim $100 for the supplies and Jim said if we were able to sell the student’s woodwork it would quickly repay his debt to Jim and give him some money to get him on his feet.

It’s stories like this and Calvin’s that really give us a true sense of the need for marketing and selling of local crafts throughout the Valley.

We’ll continue to consult with others in the coming weeks in regards to our business plan so we can continue adding details and fleshing out any weaknesses.

Tonight we had our first volunteer community night in what seems like months.

We were supposed to have dinner with several local AmeriCorps alumni, but only one ended up showing up.

She briefly told us her story and how her life has been after AmeriCorps. One that really resonated with all of us is that she felt serving as an AmeriCorps member gave her the opportunity to take on responsibilities and tasks she was not qualified to do…and it was a huge learning experience for her that made her grow in way more ways than she could have imagined.

This certainly does happen a lot and can be overwhelming, but I know a year from now when I’m out hiking the Appalachian Trail and processing, I’ll be able to see how much I’ve grown myself during my time here…

Back at the ranch for the night. Three dogs, a cat, chickens and six horses tonight. The sunset was breathtaking.

 

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