Mike Stenson and I attended numerous woodworking shows since 1997. He was interested in getting a Shop Bot and found out that Carol Reed used one. Somewhere in that time period, perhaps mid 1999, he finally was able to contact her. In the meantime we had already purchased one at a show, although the Shop Bot was never assembled.
We went to a SDFW meeting in early 1999 and felt like we were strangers amongst strangers, leaving early at about 10:30 pm (they had not gotten to their drawing yet.)
Shortly thereafter, Mike initiated conversations with Carol about having a club in North County. He wanted to have access to other woodworkers because several times he was caught in a problem and had no one to help him figure it out. He was looking for mentors and wanted a club where kids could learn as well. This discussion went on for about two years.
The two of them were trying to figure out where the meetings could be, what day of the month etc. Carol had a friend who worked at the Vallecitos Water Dist. offices in San Marcos. He offered the use of their Board Room to have our first organizational meetings. Carol was associated, through her router jig business, with the people who put on the American Woodworker Show. Carol arranged for us to have a booth at the woodworking show held in San Diego in March 2001.
Since Mike was in the printing business, he was able to buy a list of names of woodworkers around north San Diego County. American Woodworker allowed us to print a coupon to be mailed with the flyer. We printed the flyer, stuffed the coupons, and mailed these about two weeks before the show.
Mike and I set up the booth at the American Woodworking Show on Thurs. and manned the booth for the next three days (March 16, 17, & 18, 2001). There was considerable interest in the club and a long list of names was accumulated. The organizational meeting for the new club was set for April 19, 2001.
Unfortunately Mike died on April 11, 2001. I called Carol a few days after his death to try and cancel the meeting and she said we couldn't at this late date. There was too much interest to stop. So with help from some other dedicated woodworkers, I carried on with Mike’s dream.
Here we are today, August 2006, a flourishing club with 132 members. It is unfortunate that Mike passed away before he realized his dream. In 2006 the club funded a scholarship program at Palomar College to carry on Mike’s desire to educate woodworkers.