Our Graduates know us best!
Here's what they have to say:

Safety first. Passion close behind... Amazing what one can accomplish with a simple idea, a little courage, and a ton of hard work. This man built countless homes, a thriving business, a school, an incredible family, as well as helping countless others realize they're own dreams and potential. And he's still not done yet. It wasn't just about teaching us how to design a home or how to frame a wall, "I'm trying to teach you how to think." Thank you Pat Hennin, and everyone at the Shelter Institute. You may have just given us a glimpse at the blueprints of how to live a life. #shelterinstitute #designbuild #graduate#maine #timberframe #woodworking Posted on Instagram by Chris Judkins Grad July 2017

Wanted to let you know that I appreciate you and your family, especially Pat and Gaius. I learned a lot, can't put into words. We will definitely be back for more. Your family is a great example of how things should be in America: self-reliance. Karen Stewart Grad July 2017

I took your two week building course back in 1982 and because of that not only built three of our own houses but started a career in construction and project management. After designing and building custom homes in Colorado for a dozen years the last 15 years I have overseen school construction in northwest New Mexico and it all started with a course at the Shelter Institute. - Thanks, Ted Lasiewicz Spring 2017

I am a high school teacher from California that learned about your program while reading books by John Taylor Gatto. I am very impressed with your program. I am recommending that my students make the trip and enroll in your courses. I think it will benefit them greatly and open many doors in their future. I wanted to say thank you... —Darwin History Teacher in California

I wanted to thank you again for the great, life enriching experience at Shelter. The classes were marvelous and it was great to be sitting next to my son, Ryan, who took it all in like a pro...It was a great time and we will never forget it...Thanks again and we would highly recommend your classes to anyone... —Colleen and Ryan from California email sent from graduate of the two week design build class in October '07

I just wanted to send you a short note of thanks and let you know how positive, cool and memorable my week with you was in August. You really entered my heart as special and important people. We are having our first real cool fall day in Austin today! We all miss Maine and The Hennin Family. All the best to you.... —Scott, Clayton and Carlisle from Texas Postcard sent by a Student from the Aug '07 Purely Post and Beam Class

My wife and I took this class and were so impressed we had the Shelter folks build us a house. I think we could have done it on our own, but we just don't have the time. Imagine what it's like to build 24' tall furniture and you have a sense of timber framing. You can't believe that with no skills on Monday that by Friday you'll have the know-how and basic skill sets to frame a structure. Incredible. The instructors are great, the people in the class were fun, and we actually built a frame in less than a week. As a civil engineer I appreciated the detail spent on structural design and easy ways to assemble a structure. You'll learn a lot and have fun; great way to burn a week of vacation time. Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!] —Brian Tarbuck

I wanted to take a minute to thank you for the experience my daughter Aleta and I had at the recent three week Design-Build class. The course was much more comprehensive than I expected and certainly changed some of my building choices for the better. Aleta also saw very quickly that architects don’t always design with builders in mind and her designs are now much more sensitive to plumbing runs and central electrical panels. More importantly than the content of the course, however, was the introduction to the Hennins, a remarkably creative and intelligent clan. Perhaps you should consider offering a two week course on raising responsible kids. It would be worth it just to hear Pat’s introduction! Please keep up the great work. There are few beacons out there that stress personal responsibility and personal reward as succinctly as the Shelter Institute. Our great thanks again. —Pat and Aleta, Father/Daughter team from June '04 class. Aleta is studying to be an architect.

I would like my daughter Peri to register at Shelter Institute .... I cannot think of any experience that empowers a woman better than the construction course at Shelter! It is not only practical, it is enlightening. In addition to being a great softball pitcher, Peri is a math and science enthusiast which should help her stay focused in a lecture on bending moments and conservation measures. She fondly recalls our trip to Maine to attend your [25th] anniversary celebration when John Gatto was the inspirational speaker. —Rosalyn, A graduate from the early '80's who then went to graduate school in architecture at MIT.

Your new location is fabulous. I really really loved it and the flood of memories that came to me as I walked thru there and looked at books, tools, and the classroom. I have no idea if you guys really know how your classes impact people's lives. It was one of my best experiences of all time. —Violet, A graduate several years ago who recently came back for a visit.

I took the three week housebuilding class in October, 2000 and it was one of the top 10 best experiences of my life and I can't remember the other nine! —Tim and Nancy, Retired Young from Florida who purchased their own backhoe and are built a house in Maine.

All of you Hennins are wonderful, helpful, patient and inspirational people. And the learning environment was great (good co-students, no hot sun beating down on us. Good Jokes.) —Granis, Registered Nurse, Rhode Island

Debbie and I want to say again, "THANK YOU" for the best 3-week vacation/work/study experience we either one have ever had. I miss coming to class and we both miss seeing you. —Scott, Computer Consultant, Texas

The most enjoyable aspect of this course, for me, was the feeling of satisfaction I got from knowing I was learning things that I would be able to use for the rest of my life in various ways. The Shelter Institute promises a lot, and they absolutely deliver! —Lou, Retiired Airline Pilot, England

This was an excellent experience which exceeded my expectations. I can highly recommend the course...it has also prepared me for a new career. —Mike, Entrepreneur/Kayak Instructor/Builder, Colorado

It was/is great! I'm learning so much that I know I'll be able to apply, and it's the kinda stuff I've always been curious about. In the near future I'll be using a lot of the climate/solar gain knowledge and the stuff on super insulation and energy efficiency. —Marie, Undergraduate working towards B.A. in Energy Efficient Sustainable Housing, Maine

Loved the experience. The folks here are exceptionally knowledgeable about all aspects relating to building, managed to keep the classes flowing with tongue-in-cheek outrageous humor and are experts at teaching normally dry material for 8 hours in an interesting and fast-paced manner. —Ray, Retired Electrical Engineer, Vermont

I really enjoyed the experience - every part of the house-building process was broken down into manageable pieces, with workshops for practical experience if possible. You end up truly feeling able to manage the process - that's very satisfying. Also, you're taking the classes in a beautiful part of Maine with a class of interesting people. —Maureen, Aspiring Architect, Maryland

The experience was more challenging than I ever thought it would be. I think the most enjoyable thing is the sense of empowerment you get from exploring what most people consider to be too complicated. Oh, and operating a back-hoe is pretty cool, too. —Kim, Film Production, New York

I learned a lot about tool usage and care. I enjoyed meeting fun people with similar building aspirations, benefitted from Hennin expertise, and gained new confidence in tackling a building project. —Jerry (and Kay), Mechanical Engineer, Kentucky

It was great to see and work on these beatiful pieces of lumber. Having total strangers get together and work together was a lot of fun. It was enjoyable because of the Hennins. —Nevin and Debbie, Computer Programmer and Administrative Assistant, Maine

The experience was fantastic. A great deal of knowledge was gained, the diversity of the fellow students was interesting, the Hennin family was great. They brought you into their family. —Rick, Operations Manager for a Pharmaceutical Company, New Jersey

I took the Timber Framing Class to learn how to use the hand tools and the basic principles of timber framing. S.I. people are wonderful instructors and very patient! —Sonya, Technical Writer, Massachussetts

You folks have made a name for yourselves and you are performing a tremendous service to thousands upon thousands of people throughout the country. —Millard Fuller, Executive Director: Habitat for Humanity

I'll give you a yardstick with which to measure good schooling. A gold standard against which to compare all forms of professional schooling: The Shelter Institute...This is Thomas Jefferson's prayer for schooling - that it would teach useful knowledge. If anyone wants to school your kids, hold them to the standard of the Shelter Institute and you'll do fine. —John Taylor Gatto, Teacher of the Year (New York State 1991)-West Austin News (Number 38, September 17, 1992)
  • Pete Neidhardt
    After taking their Design & Build course, I had the confidence to build this timber frame house, from a version of their stock plans. And you will too.
    Pete Neidhardt
  • Chasen Gillies
    We drove thirteen hours through a blizzard to take the timber framing course and it was worth it. You can tell this family has been teaching people since the 70's. 70's?! These guys are great. I hope to be back to learn but just saying "HI" would be a win. They've probably mapped out every minute of the week for the students but it still feels relaxed. Best of all, I can say with confidence, I can build a house. A timber structure. And I will
    Chasen Gillies
  • Matt Anglin
    Excellent course on house building. Teaches about every aspect of house including good design principles.
    Matt Anglin
  • Laurie Palagyi
    Shelter is a phenomenal resource of skill, intelligence, and good people. I took the two week design/build course and it was wonderful. I left with the confidence to assess my own home and any future home that I may build or purchase. Shelter is the real deal.
    Laurie Palagyi
  • David H T Kane
    Instructors make sure their lectures are clear and understandable to the students. Great follow through.
    David H T Kane
  • Deborah Caldwell
    Nothing can beat the hands-on experience that my daughter and I enjoyed for three weeks at the shelter institute. I have kept in touch ever since. I am disappointed that I cannot leave a comment on Pats chainsaw videos. The system does not seem to acknowledge our presence.
    Deborah Caldwell
  • Enzo Talladira
    As a second generation carpenter/joiner Shelter Institute's online course is a must for all who are interested in Timber Framing and the enjoyment of life.

    I have found the team to be responsive, caring and helpful. A pleasure to deal with.
    Enzo Talladira
  • Kristina Rae Bolduc
    So far our online courses are phenomenal!!! We love Pat, Gaius, and Blueberry! Gabe is pretty awesome too!!
    Kristina Rae Bolduc

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