Minor membership controversy

IMO. The current policy is great, as written, the enforcement is the problem. If the minors are with their parents that are NO ISSUES. I understand that every parent thinks that their child is the perfect little angle that could do not wrong. Speaking as a 57 year old single male, if I am the only one in a room with minors (without their parents) and there is not cameras around, the best thing for me is to leave the room, because one single accusation and my ass is grass! The policy says “DIRECT SUPERVISION” and that is what is means. Why do so many parents have an issue with watching their kids?


Id say raise the 6 age, and I have no problem with 16 year olds bringing guests of the same age, I would say limiting the number. A 16 year old member can bring one other 16 year old member for example.

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@ScottS I totally agree with you. It makes me a little nervous being around minors when there are no other adults around. I know I won’t do anything wrong, but I think we’ve all heard stories of false accusations being made by minors. Not that minors are the only ones who could make false accusations, but it seems that laws and authorities tend to take the side of a minor making accusations over the adult’s side of the story. Of course, I like kids and I think they should be at the space and learn to do things with their hands and minds, but I think they should be supervised by their guardians as much as possible.

I once left my daughter alone at the welcome center with my cell phone (and youtube) while i cut some melamine in the woodshop last spring(took about 20 min and i checked on her 3 times). I felt she was a lot safer there than in the woodshop with our half-ass dust collection system and dangerous machines. The more responsible thing i should have done is cut then melamine another day, but i felt she was safe with all the cameras and her ability to do a high pitched stranger danger scream.

I agree with @DanS and @ScottS

I’d propose:
-No kids or guests under 16 unattended in rooms with power tools and equipment (if they don’t have a membership, they aren’t necessarily trained to used power tools, they shouldn’t be alone. This isn’t the YMCA where there are designated kids locations)
-Kids could be unattended in the boardgame room/lounge area if checked on frequently.
-additional cameras never hurt, and/or if we want kids to roam MakeICT, then make it kidsafe. Each door that requires authorization to use tools to have a scanner for access.
-members 16-17 can bring 1 additional guest under 18, 2 guests if one guest is over 18 (say a parent and a sibling).

And I’d need to refresh up on what the policies say would happen should anyone not follow rules and someone gets injured, cause that should be addressed if it hasn’t already.


Hey folks,
I don’t see that we are resolving anything here. This Thursday I expect the board to approve a committee to look at the issue. At that time, I will go ahead and close down this thread and encourage you to attend that meeting if you are passionate about this topic.


I disagree with narrowing input to exclude people who for various reasons cannot attend a committee meeting. People do have prior commitments, work schedules and nany other reasons that their input isn’t feasible when input is limited to a meeting.


I hear you are saying that you would like to be able to add your conversation to the committee even if you can’t make a meeting. I will ask that they take emails and have an avenue to do a virtual meeting. And, of course, I would expect them to read through the 116 messages already in this thread which has been open for weeks. I have also left a few days for people to add anything to this thread before I close it down. (The thread cannot take action, so it needs to be directed to a source that can.)

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But DONT FRET! When she does I’ll open a new thread for some other controversial issue!


On Mon, Dec 12, 2022, 21:39 LaDeana Dockery via MakeICT Forum <noreply@talk.makeict.org> wrote:

| ladeana Board Member & Classroom Management
December 13 |

  • | - |

I hear you are saying that you would like to be able to add your conversation to the committee even if you can’t make a meeting. I will ask that they take emails and have an avenue to do a virtual meeting. And, of course, I would expect them to read through the 116 messages already in this thread which has been open for weeks. I have also left a few days for people to add anything to this thread before I close it down. (The thread cannot take action, so it needs to be directed to a source that can.)

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I know this thread has been open for 2 weeks but I don’t get on here often enough to have seen it before. However, I do have some things I want to say.
First, Does anyone else have complaints or comments regarding younger folks?
My complaint would be that I have seen adults in the building be disrespectful to or about someone who they perceive to be young. I would hope that these “adults” who have made comments about children not being welcome would understand how that can actually cause issues for the individuals they are making the comment about. I do what to say that this isn’t directed to this post and especially to Ben for making this thread. This is about the fact that I actually had a 14 year old with me sitting and reading a book while I was talking to another adult. He was being supervised and he was being very well behaved. Yet it didn’t stop the adult from making comments about how he was unwanted in the building and how they knew this child was going to be another menace to MakeICT. Now he is to afraid to come back to take any classes because he has been informed he is unwanted, I am disappointed by this behavior from someone who is supposed to be an adult.

Does membership think MakeICT is intended as an adult space?
I would say that I personally feel like this is more for the adults but is not an adult only place nor do I think it should exclude children.

Should we avoid topics/themes?
As a mom myself I would say absolutely not. Children are going to be exposed to things by just turning on the tv or getting on FB. Why censor Art instead of teaching kids freedom of expression?

If there is a 16 year old member, should they be allowed to wander the halls unattended (at all hours past curfew)?
Yes. A paying 16 year old member should be treated like we treat other members. Also, per the curfew, it states they can be out at all hours if it is a recreational activity where they have an adult take responsibility for them. Therefor, a minor who has a parent/guardian sign for them to become a member then, in fact, has an adult who is taking responsibility for them and they are partaking in a recreational activity and are not breaking any laws by being in our building at any given time of day or night.

How should 16 year olds be taught/ corrected/ how should their accusations be handled?
They should be taught just like any other member. and explain why you mean by accusations?

After reading all the comments on this thread it seems like maybe we are more against the youth. There are assumptions that the youth are the ones breaking things and although it may be the case, it can also be that there are adults breaking things. I hope that we are making sure we know it was a kid and not making that assumption based on the fact that a kid is around during the time something might have happened. A kid cleaning the locker or going to the bathroom shouldn’t be a concern. If the kids are being dropped off without a supervision and they are not a member or 16 or older then they aren’t supposed to be here anyway. But the issue is not that there are kids but that there are people that are here that are not supposed to be. This includes adults. I have seen plenty of rules being broken unfortunately but when I am around it is during school hours and it is actually adults that are not following rules. Also, there are assumptions about people’s ages and you never know how old someone actually is. For example, at age 36 I am often mistaken for early 20s. I still remember when I was in my 20s and a mother of 2, I had someone I work with get after me for talking about wanting to go home and have a beer because they don’t support underage drinking. I had someone get angry accusing me of lying about my 6 year old being that young because she was so tall they knew she was at least 8. We never know how old someone is by looking at them and we need to be making questions before assuming rules are being broken.
I don’t think being more restrictive towards a certain age group is actually going to solve the issues we have. I think it would be more towards the fact that we need to figure out better ways of making sure that members are checking in guests and that we are making sure we aren’t using equipment we are not responsible for or letting our guests do the same. We are to be excellent to each other and that should be regardless of age as much as sex or race.

There were some comments about kids training others on equipment. If the 16y/o isn’t authorized they can’t use the equipment same as if a 66y/o isn’t authorized. If the 16 y/o isn’t authorized to train others on that equipment to become authorized users then they can’t teach others to use it same as if he were 66 y/o.
Ultimately, it just seems as there are rules that aren’t being followed or enforced and we need to maybe focus less on the age of people and more on just following the rules period.


I think saying that we are “against the youth” because we feel that the rules about suppervising children for their safety is quite a stretch. I love kids. I have never once suggested that we shouldnt have kids in the space. I have only pleaded the case on supervision of young children, which, as we have discussed, should be part of the followed rules anyway. I hate to be given some sort of reputation that I hate kids and am against them being in the space. That’s the last I will say on this, sonce this thread was supposed to be shut down, I just really disagree with the “against the youth” part, since that is not at all what this is about.


It is great that you haven’t suggested that we shouldn’t have kids here and if that is the case then then you can rest easy that you aren’t part of creating that kind of environment. As I stated, following the rules is the issue not the age of the kids themselves so I also agree that supervision is one of the rules to be followed.
However, we are creating an environment that isn’t kid friendly and that should be addressed if that isn’t what we want. I can say from personal experience the first time I visited the new location at an open house that I was shocked with the response I got from bringing my own children. When, I had visited the space in the old location, not only had I brought kids but my brother had taken my son to build robots as a bonding time and my son had always felt welcome. When I came to the new location, I was greeted by someone of authority that let me know that in the new location, that was no longer acceptable and that my children weren’t even welcome to come to the lounge with me. I was heart broken as my kids love creating and are in my home shop with me often. My daughter wanted to take some sewing classes so bad and actually cried later that she couldn’t take classes with me like my son did with my brother years ago. I was surprised that a younger boy was with his dad in one of my authorization classes and had done some inquiring later about it. From my personal experience bringing kids and asking leadership people from different areas about it, kids technically can be there with supervision but they weren’t welcome or wanted by an overwhelming amount of people I talked to personally. I am also not the only parent I know who has encountered this kind of response in regards to children simply because of nothing but the number of days around the sun.
So, if we don’t want that reputation then we need to acknowledge that it is one that is growing with our name. We can’t fix it if we don’t acknowledge it exists and if we proceed with creating stricter rules centered around the youth purely for their age as some have suggested then that will have an impact on it.


I wish you would have reached out directly to me about sewing classes. I love having kids in my sewing classes. I would love to have you and your daughter. This past summer I had a mother with her 2 daughters take my classes and we had a blast every time. I went to Salina and taught summer camp 2 classes 8 in one 3 in the other ages 7-12. I personally joined the makerspace because at 8 my now 14-year-old son told me he wanted to be a robotics engineer and my husband and I don’t have all the skills he needs. He’s now on the forum and we’ve talked about this thread. It’s
disheartening, but he has a healthy attitude and doesn’t get too shaken up by things like this. It saddens me to know your daughter is upset.


I will talk to my daughter and let her know that she actually welcomed and get us in there. It will make her day!


When I was a kid I was the one who was always taking things apart to see how they worked. I’d take broken things apart to see if I could fix them and frequently succeeded. Enough so that I would go with my dad to the dump to collect radios to take home and repair and sell.

I didn’t always put tools back where I got them and sometimes took working things apart and couldn’t get them back together on the first attempt. I occasionally became part of a line current circuit. I found multiple ways to create explosions and made lots of toxic gases inadvertently and without proper ventilation.

In retrospect I was really lucky that there wasn’t more long term injury and damage and was really lucky that my parents didn’t put a halt to my curiosity. My dad did tell me that there were three things I shouldn’t disassemble without instructions on putting back together. Those were typewriters, firearms and camera shutters. I didn’t tell him I had already succeeded with two out of three. I proceeded to successfully figure out the typewriter that had previously frustrated me soon after that.

There wasn’t a good name yet for the kind of kid I was, I was just considered overly curious and “handy”. My dad was very good at fixing things and started me on automobile repairs at the age of 6. He didn’t understand anything electrical and was mystified that I could follow a wiring diagram for a washing machine and determine that the diode assembly in an alternator was the problem and much cheaper than replacing the entire alternator.

I was well on the way to becoming a maker without knowing anyone like me 45 years ago.

Since finding out about MakeICT I’ve been participating starting with helping build some little free libraries for some daycare center a little over 8 years ago in the West Douglas space. There were about as many kids as adults involved in that project and the entire thing was ad hoc and we had only donated and remnant materials and barely any power tools but we used an entirely collaborative process and just figured things out as we went along.

I knew I had found my people. I had to become a member even though I was completely broke and couldn’t afford a membership. But there was an informal scholarship offered and I could easily offer my time and experience instead of money. I volunteered for so many things that one of those early years I was recognized as volunteer of the year at our annual meeting.

After we had moved to East Douglas a frequent need was some parent of a child wanting someone to assist their kid in the ERP lab doing their thing that was completely beyond what the parent could help with. Many times things were taken apart and sometimes repaired or modified to do something novel. Somewhat more often a hackable item that had been donated was disassembled just to figure it out. Occasionally no such arrangement had been made and a kid left behind tools that weren’t put away and disassembled things were scattered and abandoned. It was not just accepted, these were our younger selves being allowed to become future makers.

I’d really hate to see occasional messes and breakage used by people who don’t remember that they were once that young, curious mind that needed some freedom to be wrong and to cause problems in order to learn what’s possible.

We can really do better as an organization in many ways. But with patience, kindness, tolerance and love we can also give back what we were given as kids and ensure that the next generations of makers aren’t being discouraged.


i understand your pov mike. Ive read this thread about three or more times. I dont really see it as an ageism or i hate children sort of thing. i see it as a liability thing, all we would need is someone’s child to have an accident in the woodshop/metalshop and the lawyers would circle like starving buzzards and makeict would be no more.


Jo, I’ve seen your kids in Adult Situations… I’d be happy to have him in a class.There are a couple of ornament classes and an Open Turning on the calendar. Introductory level.



Thanks for sharing your story here, Mike - every bit of it.

I was an incredibly curious kid, but grew up in a home with extremely limited resources. The first time I touched a power tool was as an adult. My involvement in MakeICT from the beginning has always been inspired in part by the idea that we, as a community, can provide things (ideas, knowledge, tools, experiences, etc) that are otherwise unavailable to people. The younger a person is, the more impactful that can be.

The concerns about keeping people safe from harm and the organization safe from liability are valid. I’ve had countless positive experiences with kids in the makerspace, but I’ve also had to go searching the facility to find a parent after seeing their unattended children rummaging through people’s things. Some kids are better than others, as are some parents and people in general. Personally, I think our current policies regarding youth are pretty sound, but there may be room for improvement with adherence / reporting / enforcement of the guest policies.

If any changes (policy, cultural, etc) are made to help ensure the safety of youth in the makerspace, I hope it’s carefully balanced to ensure that those changes also make our org even more inviting and supportive of our local youth. The world needs more excellent makers :slight_smile:


May be off topic slightly, but if a bring an adult guest and I am just popping in quick to run somthing on the laser cutter or cut a couple boards in the woodshop, can a “non-member” adult sit in the lounge and look at their phone, eat a snack, or whatever while I am working (less than 30 minutes) as oppossed to them sitting in my car or standing in the woodshop while I run boards on the table saw?


According to the other thread on minors…

“…the membership committee. They feel that “direct supervision” is being misinterpreted. It’s like they say in orientation: “you need to be with your guests (physically in the room with) at all times unless they are going to the restroom…””