Fort McCoy News March 14, 2014

Celebrate National Craft Month with McCoy activities

Public Affairs Staff

The Fort McCoy community can celebrate the art of crafting in many ways in March as well as throughout the year.

National Craft Month was created by the Craft and Hobby Association in 1994 where "it was designed to help people learn about and re-discover the joy of crafting and all its many benefits," according to the association. "The observance has grown into an international celebration of creativity and innovation with millions of craft enthusiasts 'getting their craft on' during the month."

Photo for craft month article
A recent "Family Memories & More" scrapbooking workshop at Fort
McCoy attracted the interest of a number of participants.

Contributed photo

By one definition, crafting is "making things by hand," and, "a profession or activity involving the skillful making of decorative or practical objects by hand." Crafting takes on many forms. It could be scrapbooking, woodworking, writing, photography or painting.

Fort McCoy's Army Community Service (ACS) office is one place on post that supports many crafting activities. One activity, "Family Memories & More," is a scrapbooking workshop offered the second Saturday of each month through September from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the South Post Community Center, 6158 H Circle.

During each session, participants create two scrapbook pages centered on a monthly theme. All materials are supplied, and participants can bring in their own photos. Participants who attend seven workshops also receive an album in which to assemble the scrapbook pages.

Registration is required at least one week in advance of each scrapbooking workshop and people can do so by calling 608-388-3505.

The workshops are open to all military, retirees, civilian workforce, Family members and registered Fort McCoy volunteers.
The next workshops are April 12 and May 10.

Becky Sawyer, ACS director, said participating in crafting helps people build their resilience, and their sense of well-being.

"Crafting creates an outlet for expression," Sawyer said. "It creates community support — especially when you are doing crafting events with other people and Families with like interests. More importantly, it provides stress reduction and helps you think about things other than the stresses of work or whatever else is going on in your life."

The March 22 event, called "It's All About 'Us' Day," is fulfilling an opportunity for many members of the Fort McCoy community to experience crafting.

This class is filling up fast, and Sawyer said it's an event ACS hopes to hold regularly if interest continues to be strong.
At this workshop, participants can try soap making, nail art, glass beading, scrapbooking, sewing, ceramic painting, knitting or a craft they choose to bring in.

"This is the type of event where we like to do it all," Sawyer said. "Participants are provided with a large work space for the day and we have many additional supplies available to enhance your creative spirit."

Another creative outlet is Fort McCoy's Woodshop. Open every Tuesday and Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m., the Woodshop offers prospective wood workers a chance to craft anything from the very simple to the very complex.

"The Woodshop is a fully equipped facility with modern wood-crafting tools," said Jobi Spolum, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (DFMWR) Marketing director.

The Woodshop is in need of more volunteers to oversee operations too, Spolum said. Anyone interested should call 608-388-3544.

Each patron who uses the Woodshop receives training on each piece of equipment they desire to use. Once they are proficient at using the machinery, those patrons are certified by the volunteer overseeing operations at the shop.

Woodshop fees are $3 an hour for regular usage, and, people can also purchase a 30-hour punch card for $25. Planer fees are $15 an hour.

Those who appreciate the crafting talents of others, will stage the DFMWR's "A Taste of Art and Wine" March 28. The event starts at 5 p.m. at the Whitetail Ridge Ski Area Chalet.

Artists with creations in painting, sculpture, photos, glass, ceramics, metals and more will have exhibitions at the event.

"This should be a fun event to see some really nice art and craft pieces created by members of our Fort McCoy community," Spolum said. For more about the event, call 608-388-3200.

In addition to ACS workshops and DFMWR events, keep up with the latest on crafting events in The Real McCoy newspaper, available online at, or by visiting the Fort McCoy MWR public website at