Everyone needs a clubhouse! You can build your own backyard shelter, retreat, or clubhouse even if you have never built anything before. The clubhouse above was built in 1959 by three kids aged 8, 9 and 11, with no money or help from grownups! I know; I was the 11-year-old who took this picture. I'm sharing here what I have learned since then.
Readers of all ages are welcome to comment with their own ideas, pictures or stories.
To help you on your way, I've written a book titled "Keep Out! Build Your Own Backyard Clubhouse", which is available through bookstores or at Amazon.com . Many of the items I post here are also in the book.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Maureen's Fort

Four girls got together and built an impressive fort one summer in the woods near their home. 
This is Maureen's story. 

When I was young, we had the BEST fort! It was a great place that my sister and friends and I built with our own hands.

We salvaged building materials from the woods, and asked for wood scraps from houses being built in the area. We used four trees in the woods for corner posts, and found 2/3 of an old wooden door with hinges. My dad helped by giving us some paneling boards and lending us his hammer and saw and nails. We covered the outside with plastic to keep out the rain. We even made a brick stove inside with a grill that we used to cook sliced lunch meat for lunch. Yum! The smoke went out the window that had only a metal screen. It was an all-girl fort, with a "No Boys Allowed" sign by the door. We were about nine years old then.

Then one day, the neighborhood boys launched an attack. While we were all inside, they beat on our fort with sticks, and one boy shot at the fort with a b-b gun. A b-b went through the thin wall and hit me on the foot. Wow, did that sting! Well, my friend Karen ran home to get her older brother, Barry, who came and rescued us. He carried me home on his shoulders because I made such a fuss over my tiny flesh wound. Barry was about fifteen. I think that was the first time I fell in love, he was so big and strong. All the dads then came and disassembled our fort because things got out of hand, and we thought that was really unfair.

We also used our fort for animal rescue, at least we thought we were doing animal rescue. For a while, we kept some baby birds, snakes, salamanders and a few bull frogs. It was the best summer of my life while it lasted!

--Maureen Vel 

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