TWIN LAKES – As you first approach Twin Lakes Youth Camp, you hear the sound of hammers hammering, saws cutting through wood and see a project coming to life.

10 Students from Inchelium High School are being trained on the job and gaining a vast amount of experience in their quest of the building and assembling of their tiny house project, the first of its kind for the Colville Confederated Tribes.

“We’re kind of the pilot project on this,” Said Guy Stensgar (Colville tribal member) who has his work cut out for him.

“Its cool I like it, its hard to keep an eye on them when its just me,” as he laughs, but expressed that they all work very well together.

For Sammi Stensgar who will be a senior this upcoming fall this was a great opportunity for her to explore the trade and construction route.

“Construction and building things has always interested me as a potential career path,” she says. “The idea of building a tiny house all summer was too cool to pass up.”

Sammi along with one of her good friends Zalissa Finley also working on the project took on a bulk of the heavy lifting.

“Zalissa and Sammi framed most of it,” said Guy Stensgar. “I would say 75 percent of this building is framed by them.”

Of the 10 youth workers on the project, only two would be girls.

“It felt really accomplishing that we got to frame all of the walls and the roof especially because we were the only girls working there and we were getting to do one of the most important jobs,” said Sammi Stensgar.  “It was a really good feeling to know that Guy trusted both of us enough with a nail gun and our measurements to do as much as we got to.”

Now seeing the project in the later stages and almost near completion, Sammi reflects back on how special this experience was for her.

“For me it meant a lot to get to be able to work on because I know a lot of people never get the chance to do anything like it,” she expressed. “Building the roof was really memorable because it was the most difficult having to nail the boards in at weird angles, being higher up than we normally were. And just getting to see the whole thing come together at the end of the days was really cool.”

Of course it should be noted that most of the lumber for this project was donated by Vaagen Brothers Lumber Inc. out of Colville Washington.

“We really appreciate it,” said Stensgar. “They donated all the 2x4’s and 2x6’s, it was quite the package.”

The project got underway on Aug. 4 and has come a long ways.

“It nice to teach them how to do this stuff,” said Stesngar. “The last job I was on the youngest kid on the crew was 25. That was big reason why me and Roger [Finley] wanted to do this, get these kids back into doing stuff like this.”

Colville Business Councilman Roger Finley of Inchelium District put this into motion and now it has become a reality.

The tiny house sits on a metal trailer the hope is that they can get rented out during the summer months.

“We want to keep them on the trailer so we can haul them down to the boat launches and rent them out during the summer,” said Stensgar. “I think they said Keller boat launch and plus we got a boat launch at Noisy Waters. So if this works we can start building more and more of them.”

The 10 youth workers on the Tiny House Project included; Duke Finley, Zalissa Finley, Michael Stensgar, Sammi Stensgar, Isaak Hoskie, Roland Seymour, Chase Whitney, Norman Harrison, and Sylis Warren.

Guy Stensgar broke his youth workers into pairs and placed them accordingly.

“Isaak’s been cutting all the sheets, Michael and Chase have been cutting all the studs and doing all our angle cuts,” he said. “Sammi and Zalissa have been putting it all together, Duke and them have just been going around doing the odds and ends job.”

It’s great feeling for Guy as he hears the talk around town.

“I’ve heard them bragging about it to their parents,” he says. “On how we got this much done today and we got all this done today. They really want to learn and really enthused about it”

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