VIKING SHIPS PROJECT
The Purpose of MeriSol Services Inc. is to
launch a Pilot Program of Challenging Involvement for financially disadvantaged
individuals and at-risk youth.
Concept by Terrence Jones
MeriSol Services Inc.
February 11, 1997
MeriSol Services Inc., a non-profit public
service corporation, was formed with the purpose of raising a combination of
private and public sector resources for long term paid training programs,
involving Portland and Metro Area at risk youth and financially disadvantaged
individuals and/or heads of families. The pilot project and focal point for the
corporation's mission is the construction of a series of ninth century Viking
Ships, including a 22 foot landing craft, a 32 foot landing craft, and a 76 foot
sailing and rowing ship. This program is designed to give a large degree of
responsibility to the students. Participants will be assigned to department Task
Groups, and individual students will be chosen as Task Group Managers. Mentors
will work with participant managers to oversee the participants' training, and
to assist participant managers in the administrative aspects of their
departments. Participant managers will meet on a regular basis, coordinating
departmental goals to meet projected time frames for the completion of tasks,
and to assist in the projection of the budget.
Mentors will be selected based upon their
experience, technical knowledge, and their commitment towards the philosophy and
goals of this project.
Participants will be responsible for
electing a representative (participant director) to sit on the Oversight
Committee. The participant director will report on the success of the
departments in meeting corporate goals, and will provide training to Task Group
Managers in the methods used for tracking Management goals. Task Group Managers
will be taught the use of computer software tools to create critical path
analysis of the project stages, defining related projects, and coordinating
timely completion of Project Tasks with other Managers. This project is designed
to be an ongoing and permanent program, developing in scope to train, and employ
on a permanent basis targeted individuals in a wide spectrum of skills. These
skills range from business administration, accounting/fiscal management,
broadcast video production, photo journalism, desktop publishing and multimedia
graphics development, Internet Web Site creation and maintenance, wooden ship
construction, and woodworking and cabinetmaking skills.
All phases of the Program will be
documented. Multnomah Community Television (MCTV) resources will be utilized for
video production training, equipment and facilities. Instruction will entail the
use of broadcast quality video cameras, editing, adding graphics and text,
special effects, and show production. A Video
Production Task Group will be assigned to
document the construction of the ships, and the people involved in the project.
Shows produced by the Task Group will be aired monthly on MCTV cable TV. In
addition, a Multimedia Task Group will be selected, receiving training on
Multimedia and Desktop Publishing systems. The Participants will use the video
media collected from the Video
Task Groups, in addition to other material
on the project, to create and maintain a home page on the World Wide Web.
Information will include the purpose and scope of MeriSol Services Inc.,
frequently updated information on the status of the project, etc. Constant
updating and improving the quality of a Web Page maintains audience interest.
This experience provides incentive for participants to develop creative design,
learn multimedia graphics design and production, promote creative thinking and
discussion, and learn valuable skills. The benefit is increasing access to
relevant information to current and potential donors, and serving as a central
bulletin board for the exchange of information and ideas between participants,
members of the Board of Directors, staff, and the general public. Michael O'
Brian, editor of Wooden Boat (magazine) has offered to publish a series of
articles on the construction of the Viking Ships. A Photo-Journalism Task Group
will be selected from participants, who will work under a mentorship to
photograph the various stages of the project, and compose a series of articles
documenting the project in it's entirety. A large building complex, located on
the banks of the Willamette River, has been leased for the use of the
corporation at a substantially reduced rate, due to an in-kind grant of
$72,000.00 from Gary Tour, of New Era Marine, and owner of the property.
These facilities have been reserved for
offices, educational and safety training classes, a materials workshop, and the
main ship construction shop at 21421 S. 99 E. Hwy, Canby, OR 97013. In the
shipbuilding phase of the project, Phase I, several Task Groups will be formed,
each Group being responsible for specific phases of ship construction. Work will
begin with the construction of several Viking era landing craft, thus
familiarizing participants in the methods that will be used throughout the
project, and creating the focal point for the entire project. Cabinetmaking,
wood joinery, marine design theory, reading plans, lofting from plans to full
scale patterns, shipwright skills, rough and finish carpentry, sail design
theory and fabrication, wooden boat maintenance, and other related tasks will be
taught to Task Groups by mentors responsible for those specific areas. The goal
is to create a vehicle and pilot project that will involve at risk youth and
other at need individuals in challenging activities through which they will
learn valuable social, managerial and vocational skills, grow, feel connected
and gain a sense of pride in accomplishment and newly found abilities. They will
learn to work as team members as well as individuals.
MeriSol Services Inc. is incorporated to
receive funding and other contributions to manage the operations of the Viking
Ship Project and related projects. It is the responsibility of the staff to
maintain financial accounts and records. The board serves as a forum in which
participants and mentors periodically take stock of the project as a whole,
evaluate progress, and report to the Oversight Committee.
- Recruit selected individuals from the
Portland Metro area and surrounding communities for training in a
variety of managerial, professional and crafts skills which will be used
by MeriSol Services Inc. as a focal point for the corporations mission
and pilot project, the Viking Ship Project.
- Divide the project into tasks that
become focal points for arranging mentorships.
- Recruit 4 qualified mentors, to work
with existing staff members to train and direct Task Groups to work on
various aspects of The Viking Ship Project.
- Secure extensive private sector
involvement in funding, donation of materials, equipment and tools,
mentoring, post project training and employment.
- Document the Project with a series of
articles accompanied by video and photographs of the construction and
launching of the Viking Ships.
- Provide pageantry for the enjoyment of
the citizens of the community through events that celebrate completion
of the Project while acknowledging the contributions of participants.
- The ships built from the Viking Ship
Project will remain in nonprofit ownership by MeriSol Inc to ensure the
proper maintenance of the ships, for the continuing education and use of
participants, and for other groups approved by the Executive Director.
TASKS AND SKILLS
Specific tasks to be created and skills to
be acquired include the following.
Existing organizations and channels, as well
as new mediums, including the establishment of an Internet Web Site, will be
employed to broadcast information of the Viking Ship Project to Board members,
participants, staff mentors, and to present and potential donors, and to present
the opportunities this project offers for the participants, as well as the
benefits to society as a whole. Projects will be broken down into Task Groups
that will be used as vehicles for collaborations and pairings between
participants and craftsmen, and professionals. One Participant of each Task
Group will be elected as manager of that group, and understudy to the mentor.
Participant managers will learn project scheduling, budgeting, and
employer/employee relations, and will act as liaisons between management and
construction participants. In the Viking Ship Project the following mentorships
will be created.
- The development of management skills
through educational training, mentorship with management and staff, and
participation on the Oversight Committee.
- The development of accounting/fiscal
management skills through educational training and mentorship
participation with the accountant and fiscal manager.
- The development of computer skills,
including accounting software, word processing, spreadsheet and database
programs, project management, financial reporting, etc.
- In depth training on the safe use of
power tools, and workshop safety, provided by staff and the corporations
- The development of specific
woodworking skills, including joinery, cabinetmaking, finish carpentry,
steams bending, lofting and other shipwright work.
- Training in corporate financial
management, developing business reports, tracking financial goals.
- Developing team work and management
- Developing skills in business and
- Education and experience in
photo-journalism and multimedia skills, leading to the production of a
"Web Site" on the Internet, with an on-line newsletter for
participants, corporate members, current and potential donors, and the
- Active participation in writing
proposals, grant writing, and nonprofit corporation fundraising.
- MeriSol Services Inc has received a
positive response from community and business leaders for this project.
MeriSol offers long-term training and employment in a variety of
challenging positions, building a series of Viking ships to celebrate
the wide diversity of our ethnic backgrounds and the maritime history of
the Pacific Northwest. This program creates a focal point for the
variety of skills addressed with this project.
- MeriSol Services Inc. has received
advice and a pledge of ongoing support throughout this project from Arne
Emil Christensen, head of the Archeology department at the University of
Archeology in Oslo, Norway and also Curator of The Viking House Museum
in Bygdoy, Norway. Emil has recommended the Gokstad as the ideal ship to
represent the era, and of superior construction and handling ability,
even by today's standards. Through the efforts of the Executive Director
of this corporation and Mr. Christensen, a set of construction plans of
the Gokstad has been donated for this project, in support of the mission
of MeriSol Services Inc. Mr. Bent Tygesenn, Master Shipwright with an MA
in Anthropology and eight years of shipbuilding experience, including
four years of apprenticeship training in traditional Norwegian
boatbuilding methods, has been selected as a full time staff member and
instructor. Mr. Tygessen has taught Anthropology at Portland Community
College for twenty-two years. James McMullen, manager of Rivers West,
Portland's local boat building club, and also manager of Crosscut
Hardwoods, the largest supplier of marine lumber for the Pacific NW boat
building industry, has offered his expertise in marine woodcarving to
work on this project as a mentor for students
A student will be chosen as participant
director, with the Executive Director a mentor. The student will gain
experience in setting financial goals, reviewing and interpreting budgets
and financial reports, evaluating financial performance and making
appropriate reports to funders and oversight agencies.
A selected participant will work in a
mentorship capacity with the accountant, and will assist in the preparation
and presentation of financial reports to the Treasurer.
Understudies to the Executive Director
will be selected from the participants, learning purchasing protocols and
documentation, funder requirements, purchase orders, requests for public
bids, monitoring costs against the budget, and interfacing with accounting.
A Task Group will be selected to receive
training on Web Site design and maintenance, upload project developments to
the site, respond to questions from inquiries on the Web, and seek out
information that may be helpful to this project.
Two Media Task Groups will be selected to
document this project: photojournalism (Print Media) and Broadcast
Journalism. Mentors will assist participants of the Photo Media Task Group
in interviews and photography, using computer graphics and publishing
software in the composition, layout and drafting of the articles which will
be submitted. The Photo Media Task Group will work with the Multimedia Task
Group to incorporate photographs and interviews into the Corporate Web Site.
The Broadcast Media Task Group will be trained at the facilities of
Multnomah Community Television, in all aspects of broadcast video production
techniques, including Video Recording, Editing, and Broadcasting. A monthly
show will be broadcast on MCTV cable TV. Michael O'Brian, Editor of Wooden
Boat Magazine, has agreed to publish a series of articles covering the
construction of the Viking Ships. Task Group members will become involved in
marketing and promotion for this and other media sources.
Under overall supervision of Bent Tygessen
and one part time master shipwright, participants will launch the project
with the construction of Viking era landing craft, followed by the
construction of a ninth century replica of the 76'6" Viking ship
"Gokstad". Office space, materials storage, educational and safety
training, lofting and ship construction will take place at the facilities in
New Era, Oregon, reserved for this project at a substantial discount, due to
an in-kind grant of $72,000 by Gary Tour of New Era Marine, Inc.
These ships will be offered for the use of
the citizens of the City of Portland as goodwill ship with another city,
such as Vancouver, BC. as a demonstration of solutions available with which
the communities of our nations can enhance the quality of inner city life
through cultural revitalization, hard work and common goals. I believe this
program offers a unique opportunity for our inner city youth and financially
disadvantaged individuals to learn first hand how different departments,
representing different areas of expertise, work together to make a
corporation operate successfully. Participants will experience the rewards
of becoming involved in a project which will teach them valuable skills, and
which will enhance the community within which they live for many years to
Terrence A. Jones
Merisol Services, Inc.