Yestermorrow Then and Now

by Kate Stephenson, Executive Director
Ten years ago today I arrived at Yestermorrow for the first time, to start my summer internship in April 2002.  It’s hard to believe that much time has passed, but when I think back to those days, it’s amazing to realize how much has changed at the school, and how much has also stayed the same.
My first Yestermorrow class in May 2002

I arrived to a campus just gearing up for the summer, since there were few classes offered over the winter.  The main building had only been partially renovated; for the most part only the lobby, office and shop were useablethe rest had no heat or plumbing.  I jumped right in to a bunch of classesTimberframing and Home Design/Build were particularly memorableand started helping out with a variety of projects around campus, including working on the first three cabins. Back in 2002 the staff (Pat Pinkston, Peter Collins and Eyrich Stauffer) were struggling to bring in students and get the new campus up and running.  As interns we were pretty much self-organizing, trying to keep one step ahead of what the instructors needed for their classes, answering phones in the office, and working on the many unfinished building projects around campus. We each did a little bit of everything, and poured our hearts and souls into the place.  It was a lot of work, and a lot of fun.  

After finishing up my 4 month internship that summer and continuing on to graduate school, I still felt the pull of Yestermorrow.  By December I was back, and hired on to the staff full-time.  Though I never could have imagined it when I first arrived in 2002, I’m still here.  The campus has developed in many dimensions (and we still have a long way to go), the curriculum has expanded in ways I never dreamed possible, and our team has grown to include an even wider circle of talented faculty, interns and staff.  We still struggle to find enough students to run each class, we still have a campus with a few unfinished projects, and we’re still teaching the design/build process day in and day out. Many of the amazing instructors I learned from as an internJosh Jackson, Skip Dewhirst, and John Ringelare still some of our most committed teachers and are actively involved in the school.
Over the past ten years I’ve learned a little bit of patience, a ton about how organizations work, and more than I ever imagined about how the design/build process actually happens, both in the studio and on the jobsite.  I’m excited to think where we might be in the next ten years, and am committed to helping realize the collective vision of the Yestermorrow community.  Thanks to all of youstudents, staff, board, interns, and community partners – for making this such a fun place to be.