Final Project Report
Disabled Veterans Canes
May 6, 2009
Summary: Our project set out in 2007 with the goal of providing artistically carved, patriotically themed, Eagle Head walking canes for disabled military veterans residing in Mississippi. Our anticipated objective for this project was 720 canes (representing approximately 1% of the 72,000 disabled veterans in Mississippi). A large percentage (82%) of our active membership participated enthusiastically in producing the canes; very few members did not participate at all. Our goal of 720 canes was not reached. We produced 274 canes during 2007, 2008, and the first quarter of 2009.
Participation: As noted above, the vast majority of our active members were enthusiastic, generous, and prolific participants in the project. A summary of participating members and production is shown below. An interesting aspect of the participation was that most of the production was from the newer and younger members of the club. In fact many of our new members were first drawn to the club because of publicity they encountered describing the project and a desire to participate in this worthwhile cause. As of May 6, the club had 56 dues paying members, approximately 28 of whom regularly attend monthly carving meetings. Not all members live in the immediate metropolitan area. Some members are residents of Louisiana. There are a total of 23 carvers that have participated in the project to date. These are mostly from the metropolitan area plus Vicksburg and East Central Mississippi. Note that the number of canes shown are canes actually delivered to a disabled veteran. The carvers shown may have carved more canes which have not as of May 6 been delivered. These will be delivered as more requests are received from around the State in coming months. As of May 6, all cane requests that have been received from qualified veterans have been filled.
Cane Production summary as of May 6, 2009
Secondary goals: As noted above, we were not successful in attaining our original goal of 720 veterans’ canes. However, we also identified several secondary goals in our original grant application including increasing membership, improving carving skills, improving club cohesion/focus, and advancing the craft of woodcarving generally in our area. We believe we succeeded in these secondary goals although they are not easily quantifiable or measurable.
- Increased membership: Before this project was initiated in January 2007, our regular attendance averaged approximately 14 members each meeting. Currently we see about 28 members in attendance representing a 100% increase. Obviously not all of the increase is due to the cane project alone, but we believe that the publicity we have gained through the project has definitely helped to bring more interested people to our meetings, many of whom have decided to become members.
- Improved carving skills: Many of our participating members have stated that prior to making the Eagle Head veterans canes, they had never gotten involved in bird carving in general or painting at all. These members have now added several new dimensions to their practice of the woodcarving craft. All members, especially those who have produced several canes, have exhibited a distinct increase in their carving skill.
- Improved club cohesion/focus: Prior to beginning the project, our club had no clear or systematic process or direction to develop members’ skills or to use those skills to benefit the community. It was thought that if the membership could become united around a central project, it would bring a sense that we were making a valuable contribution to our membership vis a vis personal skill improvement as well as to the community by supporting an important element (disabled veterans) of that community. We believe that the participants in this project have gained skills in their carving craft and that many of them have experienced a sense of satisfaction in awarding the completed canes to disabled veterans around the state of Mississippi.
- Advanced woodcarving craft: There are at least 274 individuals who now have at least some degree of appreciation for the craft of woodcarving. We believe this number is actually much larger when the family, associates, and friends of the cane recipients are taken into consideration. We have also received many complimentary letters, e-mails, and voice communications from the general public (see attached file), who have learned of the project through many media exposures, expressing appreciation for the Pearl River Woodcarvers Guild in undertaking this Veterans cane project. Prior to this, we expect that many, if not most would never have given any thought to woodcarving. As a result, we believe we have introduced a much more respectful attitude and appreciation for the craft throughout the state.
Conclusions: Overall this project has been successful at many levels. We didn’t achieve the level of completed canes that we tasked ourselves for originally; however, the participants have become better carvers and have made a well received contribution to a deserving portion of our Mississippi community. Additionally, we have elevated the general public’s knowledge of and appreciation for the craft of woodcarving to a significantly higher level. We believe it has been a worthwhile project and we appreciate the support of the Mississippi Arts Commission for the past year of the project.
Follow-Up / Final Summary Following is the final summary of canes produced by participants in the PRWG Veterans Canes project of 2007/2008/2009. The project is concluded as of Dec 31, 2009. Thanks to all participating carvers. You have accomplished the following by your help in this project:
- Publicized and Promoted the existence and activities of the PRWG.
- Recognized and awarded disabled vets around the state for their service.
- Enriched the treasury by approximately $3000.
- Some of you have also advanced your own carving/painting skills and other stuff.
January 5, 2010