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May 3, 2018

From Boards to Beds

Unusual sounds rang out on May 3rd and 4th from the YMCA Germany (CVJM) grounds in Hoheneiche in the state of Thuringia. In a place where young people usually come together for adventure camps or recreation for confirmation candidates, power screwdrivers, staple guns, and hammers can unmistakably be heard. As well as many young voices: “Can you hold the board? “I think it has to go the other way around!” “How does that now belong here?” Everything belongs in a total of 12 brand new construction trailers, so that in the end many, many pieces of wood turn into a total of 68 sleeping spaces.

The trainees of the HABA Family of Companies are taking part in the “80 good deeds” anniversary campaign through this project. And the 47 participants are proving that not only the wood technicians but also the prospective business people, logistics specialists, computer scientists or media designers can pitch in. Because it’s important to correctly install all sorts of bed posts made of solid birch as well as bed side pieces, and battens and slats made of birch plywood.

Young people like tents less and less – Lodging in a construction trailer is more enticing

Marco Pfeffer manages the maintenance area in the HABA Family of Companies and is active on the board of the CVJM Thuringia. That’s where the idea developed to replace the tents on the campground with construction trailers, which will offer the guests weather-independent overnight accommodations. It quickly became clear to Marco Pfeffer and personnel office Susanne Mildenberger: This was a trainee project within the scope of the “80 good deeds” anniversary campaign.

With state support, the CVJM financed the construction trailers and the material. And then it was time for the HABA training workshop to make blueprints and fabricate the many pieces so that they could be assembled on site by the trainees. A truck transported the wooden posts and boards, which were packed onto pallets, to CVJM in Hoheneiche, where they were prepared in the materials tent.

“It’s working really well: Everyone is helping out, everyone is pitching in”

Sarah Gräf is a prospective businesswoman for marketing communication and usually has little to do with building furniture. She liked the activity: “It’s working really well: Everyone is helping out, everyone is pitching in,” she observed. Faster than expected, the first trailer is almost ready for occupancy early Thursday afternoon; only the mattresses are still missing. As a wood technician trainer, Paul Gerten is in his element: “I wouldn’t have thought that it would go so smoothly. Really well prepared,” he was happy to say while he stapled the boards for the slatted frame.

A few meters further on, Christin Brückner, Katharina Fiedler, both prospective industrial clerks and Jeanna Kabanov, future businesswoman for dialog marketing, are taking a break in front of “their” construction trailer. “We’re waiting to be able to do something again inside. We did the preliminary work and put in the bolts. The guys are continuing now,” said Christin Brückner. Some things are rather complicated, Jeanna Kabanov said. Some of the plans had to be read inversely. She thought it was good that the teams organized their work themselves and made decisions collectively. Everyone could do everything with one restriction: The pneumatic staplers were reserved for safety reasons for the wood technicians, who were experienced in dealing with them, on the mixed teams.

Pascal Schunk, future specialist for warehouse logistics, also thought the project was good: “This is something different than being in the company,” he said. Laura Stoll, who is studying to be an industrial clerk, was glad to be in the fresh air and to see “what the ‘woodies’ (wood technician trainees) are doing. That’s also interesting and a change,” she said while the stapler made popping sounds from the trailer behind her. “The stapling takes a while, but we’re making good time,” she said.

Brains required: Reading blueprints and thinking inversely

“We’re a good team,” the future industrial clerk Laura Kamp observed which she passed a bedpost inside. “I’m reading the blueprints, that I can do well,” she laughed. The group had already outfitted the first construction trailer with bed frames, now the trainees had to rethink: In their second trailer, the beds are mirror-inverted.

The materials tent was visibly cleared out on the first day. More and more trailers were almost ready for occupancy. Everyone had earned the cozy gathering in the evening with twist bread at the campfire. Experience paid off the next day: The newly skilled trainees assembled the last beds, in which the future guests of the CVJM will spend their nights in idyllic Hoheneiche – a lasting good deed.