Community group creates gathering space for shared learning
By Jamie Organski
At one point the Inlet Common School was operating with only about 11 students in it. After voting to become a “non-operating” school district in 2019, Inlet’s schoolchildren attend the Town of Webb UFSD.
A community group has given new life to the building, used as a gathering place where residents can share knowledge and learn new skills.
Started by Inlet resident Jeremiah Best, in collaboration with Inlet Common School Superintendent Chris Holt and other local stakeholders, the Inlet Area Community Task Force offers educational programs open to all community members in the Central Adirondack region.
During the winter months, the task force offers a Trout in the Classroom program, a maple syrup production program and more. Best said the group is currently working on setting up a remote work space, a community art initiative, and a “grow room” equipped with grow towers, lighting and strawberries, creating a warm and inviting area for residents to escape the winter elements and read. The grow towers are used to teach indoor gardening and display how folks can be innovative in terms of food production and security in a Zone 3 climate.
Come springtime, the group will kick off the season with compost projects and by expanding upon community gardens including one built specifically for the elderly and those with mobility issues.
Best’s vision is to transform the school building into a creative learning environment for kids and adults, to exchange skills and trades including woodworking, gardening, accounting, cake decorating, kite making, canvas boat making, fireside cooking, crocheting, and everything in between.
“We are open to hosting individuals who have a skill set they can teach to others, from hula hooping to writing, accounting to timber framing,” Best said. “I would love to see a big bad biker dude drinking a cup of hot cocoa learning how to crochet from my tiny 90-year-old grandma with a 12-year-old tech phenom with their parents learning, laughing, sharing, and creating right alongside.”
Best said the group hopes to offer its classes and programs either free or charge or by asking for donations to help support future programs, adding that the group is grateful to have received financial support from local organizations and individuals. Best also expressed thanks to the Inlet Area Business Association for supporting the group as they work on gaining a 501 c3 status.
Holt encourages everyone to come to a class to learn more about what the task force has to offer.
“People of all ages who are passionate about wanting to help grow their communities are encouraged to come check us out and get involved,” she said. “The more, the merrier.”
Growing the reach
Best said the group hopes to create learning spaces in other locations. For example, Mark and Susan Mayer, who own the Big Moose Inn, are leading an expansion initiative in the Big Moose area.
Best invites anyone interested in learning more about the Inlet Area Community Task Force to drop by a family night on Mondays at 5 p.m. at the Inlet Common School. Or email [email protected].