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
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
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
- 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.
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 insurance provider.
- 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
- 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
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
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 come.
Terrence A. Jones
MeriSol Services, Inc.