The Woodshop at Panorama is located in the lower level of the Quinault apartment building and is one of the most frequented activity rooms since we began our process of reopening with COVID safety restrictions. For most of our Woodshop members, the itch to get back in the shop was more than one could bear. Through the series of shutdowns and changes in restrictions given by the state of Washington, capacity of the Woodshop decreased to as little as 1 person at a time leaving many of its members waiting to get their hands on some of our beloved power tools. During pre-COVID times, “We’ve seen as many as 17 in here at a time,” says Dave Taylor, part of the resident-led leadership team. So it was not a surprise that when the shop first reopened in July with a maximum capacity of 4 people, every slot was consistently full with many more eagerly waiting for their turn.
It is clear that much of the way we’ve operated in the past has changed. From getting our temperatures checked before we can enter our favorite stores to how close we can stand next to one another; the world has entered a new normal. This hasn’t been any different for the Woodshop at Panorama. With many not having left their homes since the beginning of the pandemic, getting back to doing something you love, and simply getting out of the house, was a real treat. It’s been apparent in the response to the changes in restrictions and rigorous cleaning measures that were put into effect just how great the capacity of adaptability and willingness lives within our members.
For those unfamiliar with woodworking, it may come as a shock that it is the cherry on top for many considering a move to Panorama. “This was actually the reason I wanted to move here,” says new resident and member of the Woodshop, Larry Peabody. The process of transformation that one experiences doing woodworking brings a sense of relaxation and is scientifically proven to lower stress levels while also giving a sense of accomplishment from honing a creative skill. There’s an endless variety of what they’re able to create in the Woodshop, and this fact is what keeps them coming back.
While much of the work being done may be personal, that isn’t to say they are the only one’s reaping the benefits. We see this in some of the projects produced by longtime woodworker and member, Steve Dobosz. In between his bigger projects, Steve brings out his inner child by making toys for kids. There’s a novelty about the toys he makes – his toy boats, games and train sets rake in enough cash to donate to some of his favorite causes. This dedication translates even more so in the work that our members do for other residents and the joy it brings them. They’ve been tasked with things like fixing shelves to creating screen doors for pets and even jewelry boxes for the Gift Shop. These are just a few examples of how much of what goes on in our Woodshop gives back to our community. Who knew woodworking could have such a charitable impact?
It’s been a long year of uncertainty and our longing for normalcy has only grown greater. As with most things, there’s been a period of adjusting. However, it’s amazing to see how well everyone has adapted to life’s new rules. While we look forward to our full reopening, we can take solace in knowing that, while the world outside continues to change, the graciousness of our residents remain. We’re excited to see the Woodshop and all other aspects of the vibrant Panorama lifestyle continue to thrive through the end of this pandemic and beyond.