Off Highway 33 in Ruston, Louisiana, there lies a unique establishment known as the Ruston Community Men’s Shed, although its name doesn’t fully capture its essence.
Inside, a fine layer of sawdust blankets nearly every surface, and the space is a treasure trove of woodworking tools, ranging from handheld instruments to large, plug-in machines.
This Men’s Shed came into existence around 2018, and interestingly, its founder is Beulah Laster, a woman.
While initially targeting men, particularly those who have retired, the concept of a Men’s Shed originates from Australia.
Dean Kirby, a member of the Shed, explained its purpose: “It was designed to get old retired guys off the sofa because once you retire, you tend to lose your connection with your network, with people, and so you end up just sitting at home doing nothing and deteriorating.”
In contrast to women, who frequently socialize face to face, the Men’s Shed concept emphasizes men bonding side by side, engaging in active pursuits together.
In Australia, the positive impact of such places was recognized, leading to the idea’s global proliferation.