No Judgements.
No Expectations.
No Labels.

Welcome to Grande Prairie's Men's Shed
Man readingbook in garden shed

What the #*@& Is A Men's Shed

Nope, it’s not a small building in which to store men when not in use. Good guess, though.

Men’s Sheds are grassroots social support groups where men can do stuff together, and build friendships and community along the way. Sounds nice, right? And it keeps men connected, active, and all-round happier.

In fact, Men’s Shed provides a ton of benefits. Well, at least seven.

Men’s Shed began in Australia in 2006 to help newcomers meet others and to borrow tools from those others. The model was adopted in Canada by Doug Mackie in 2011.

Interested in Men’s Shed? Read more here, you keener.

Doug Mackie - Men’s Shed Canada Founder
Doug Mackie - Men’s Shed Canada Founder |

Men’s Shed: A Very Brief Description

When the first Men’s Shed program was created in Australia in 2006, Richard became interested in the model right away. He explains, “Men’s Sheds were literally sheds in the local parks. The program began as a government initiative for new Australians to meet other citizens. The sheds provided basic home maintenance tools for men who just arrived in Australia and did not know anyone from whom to borrow tools.”

The Men’s Shed came to Canada in 2011. It was started in Manitoba by Doug Mackie and has since grown across the province and around the world. The Men’s Shed is federally sponsored in the UK, Australia, and to a smaller extent in BC. “But Men’s Shed is first and foremost a grassroots, member-driven movement,” Richard emphasizes.

Traditionally, Men’s Sheds are based on woodworking for a few reasons:

  1. Producing a quality product with minimal skills is quite easy.
  2. Many men have had some experience with woodworking.
  3. The cost of the equipment is reasonable.
  4. The opportunity to gain more skills and complete increasingly complex projects is infinite.
  5. The learning curve is gradual and can continue forever.

But Men’s Shed groups don’t have to be organized around woodworking. The Men’s Shed members decide the interests they would like to focus on and the group is built around those pursuits.

Grande Prairie’s Men’s Shed will stay true to the original philosophy of Men’s Shed. That is, it’s organized by men, for men, and the activities are decided by the members. Richard sums up the aim of the Grande Prairie group this way: “The emphasis is on building a community of men that may do woodworking, not a group of woodworkers that are men.”

The Perks of Joining a Men’s Shed

There are many benefits to joining a Men’s Shed group. Sheds encourage sharing, creativity, and connectedness in a safe space with plenty of room to grow.

Use and share your gifts.

Got talent? Don’t hide it. Men’s Shed gives you the chance to share your knowledge and skills with those who want to learn.

Embrace the opportunity to discover and grow your creativity.

Love an activity? Just do it and get your creative juices flowing. This has the power to change your whole outlook while inspiring others to do the same.

Gain and give support.

When you work and create together, a support network forms naturally. You don’t always need to talk but when you do, someone with similar interests is right beside you to listen. And when a Men’s Shed friend needs an ear, you’ll be there, too.

Find a purpose.

Is life a little dull? Spice it up with activities at Grande Prairie’s Men’s Shed. Suddenly you’re learning and sharing, laughing and talking. You’re not expected to build a shelf or a table, but you’re guaranteed to build friendships.

Foster self-esteem in others and nurture your own.

It feels good to connect and create with others. Learning new skills and sharing your own within a community can boost your mood and increase feelings of well-being, and we could all use a little more of that.

Create a circle of friends.

A group of men with common interests, stories and jokes to tell, and lifetimes of experience to draw from - if this sounds like a circle of friends you’d like to be part of, join Men’s Shed.

Have fun!

Engaging Activities + Excellent People = Fun

When engaged in the things you enjoy with people you like, fun just happens!

Who’s In Charge Here Anyway?

In Grande Prairie, your contact is local business owner Richard Nasedkin. He runs the Men’s Shed program out of an 800 square foot corner of his shop on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 to 9:00.

Richard Nasedkin - Men’s Shed Grande Prairie Founder

Why Did Richard Start a Men’s Shed Group In Grande Prairie?

Great question. The short answer is Richard likes the low-pressure program and sees its benefits. Oh, yeah, and he lives in Grande Prairie, so it made sense to start it somewhere close.

He says about the group, “Men can just show up and are not expected to participate, produce anything, or even talk. It’s a space to hang out with other men, and talk about whatever comes to mind.”

You want to know more? Well, you’re in luck. We’ve got Richard’s Men’s Shed story right here.

Richard Nasedkin has lived in Grande Prairie for over 25 years and is very passionate about mental health. He was a volunteer facilitator for the Men at Risk program (now Tough Enough to Talk About It), which began in 1999 in the city of Grande Prairie. Programs like these are designed to bring together men from male-dominated professions to talk about mental health.

Richard points out that when the Men at Risk program was founded, mental health was not talked about as openly as it is today. Richard says, “However, there is a lot of room for growth. Men still feel isolated, and feel that the extreme emotions that they are experiencing are unique to themselves.” Support groups like Men’s Shed show men that they are not alone.

He goes on to share his reason for starting this group in Grand Prairie: “I was inspired to create a Men’s Shed after first tackling and dealing with depression in 2006. I viewed the Men’s Shed as an opportunity for men to just be together in a safe and positive manner, a place where a man’s taught bravado can be left at the door, and he can be real and genuine with other men.”

The Grande Prairie Men’s Shed provides a community space that is free from judgement, expectations, and labels. The peer-to-peer model allows men to grow at their own pace, and within their own comfort levels.

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How can I Get Ahold of Men's Shed?

You can contact Richard by email here with any questions you have about the program or just to say “hey.”

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