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Just Walk Beside Me And Be My Friend

Several years ago a First Nations friend used this quote by Albert Camus and it has resonated with me ever since. After about 4 years we are finally at the end of the beginning, Coquitlam Men’s Shed Society has a humble home. It had not occurred to me that organizing something so much needed, costing so little and so effective would take about 4 years to reach this point. We have finally made it and this quote has become even more meaningful.

I first read about Men’s Sheds in the Vancouver Sun and realized that it was an organization that I needed. The contact in the article was Doug Mackie so I contacted him only to find out that there were few Men’s Sheds in Canada and none in my neighbourhood. He encouraged me to form one and about 4 years later here we are, about to move into our new Shed. Thanks Doug.

Over those years I have read about Men’s Sheds success in Australia, Ireland, Great Britain, New Zealand and elsewhere, about 2,000 worldwide. My original interest was access to a workshop of some kind (I live in a small apartment) but quickly learned that there is much more to a Men’s Shed than the workshop. A Men’s Shed is really about men’s health and there is a place for everyone, not just skilled craftsmen. I learned that independence is an important aspect of a Men’s Shed and I liked that. The Coquitlam Men’s Shed has evolved into a happy, diverse but cohesive group ready to take on any challenge that fits our skills and has a loosey goosey time line.

The quote that my friend used fits the character of our Shed perfectly.

Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead.

Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow.

Just walk beside me and be my friend.

The Coquitlam Men’s Shed Society owes thanks to the many allies that have accompanied us along the path so far including Doug Mackie, Simon Fraser Health, The Red Door Society the counsellors of the City of Coquitlam and special thanks to Mayor Richard Stewart who, because of his hands on work for the community, was able to connect us with our new host.

Look out, here we come, you are welcome to join us.

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