Griffin Bartlett – mrWF Work Ethic Scholarship
“I made tons of stuff with it,” he said. However, Griffin also loved the outdoors. Growing up in the Seacoast region of New Hampshire he was always doing something outside. His dream job was to become a Conservation Officer for the U.S. Forest Service.
In pursuit of this he attended high school at Cocheco Arts and Technology Academy. He taught wilderness education after school with a company called the Coyote Club and joined the Dover Police Explorers. He graduated with a commendation from the Dover Cadet Academy.
“I spent four years building my life around a love and respect for the outdoors.”
But halfway through his senior year, Griffin needed to have major reconstructive hip surgery. The recovery meant 3 months in a wheelchair and 6 months on crutches. It also meant he would not become a Conservation Officer.
“To help me work out my frustration with the setback of losing a dream, I started fixing canoes and occupying my spare time with small woodworking projects,” said Griffin, “In doing this, I found a respect for the craft of working wood into pieces of art, but I was still not clear about what I wanted to do for a career.”
Griffin knew he wanted some kind of higher education, but he wasn’t quite sure what that was going to be. In 2013, he moved to Winter Park, Florida with the intention of getting a less expensive education there than what was available in New Hampshire.
While still trying to decide what career path and school he would pursue, Griffin got a full time job working for Ace Flow Control. It was while working for Ace that Griffin met Gene Largado. Gene ran a wood-shop two doors down. He built models for Disney, as well as canoes and kayaks. It made Griffin miss his workbench and the joy he always found in working with wood.
Griffin was also missing the climate of the great Northeast. So, for his 21st birthday gift to himself, Griffin climbed on his Harley, and took a two week road trip from Florida to Maine and back. That gave Griffin a lot of time to think. He thought about Gene and his wood-shop and wondered if maybe he should be doing something similar. On this trip Griffin stopped and toured The Landing School, a Marine Technology trade school in Maine. That tour changed everything.
“I knew that this school was where I could start to get the education I needed to get involved in a trade I would be proud to be in.”
In 2015 Griffin moved back to New Hampshire and started attending The Landing School. He got a scholarship from the #mikeroweWORKS Foundation to help him pay for it. Griffin said, “It is good to know that there are folks out there like Mike Rowe who recognize, appreciate and don’t belittle those who choose to work not just with their head, but their hands too.”
In June of 2017 Griffin plans to graduate with a certificate in Marine Systems Technology. He still has that rolling workbench from when he was a kid. And he still uses it to make all sorts of things; from jewelry boxes to toboggans, cutting boards to kayaks. You can see his work on the Venture Woodworks. Facebook page.