I did a handful of projects as a kid, nothing really exciting. The only power tools I could use were the jigsaw, drill and 1/3 sheet sander. My great uncle was a woodworker, and he had rooms in his house full of toys he had made to give away. I always wanted to do that as well.
In my college years I worked with some "more skilled" guys doing decks and fences, and the occasional home repairs on the weekends for extra cash. I didn't really get into the real woodworking until a handful of woodworking jobs were thrown my way at work. We were scrapping a ship, and I spent 4 hours a day for over 3 months making shipping crates for high value spare parts. It wasn't "fine woodworking", but it taught me a lot about design, layout, and working with limited tools. A lot of trial and error (mostly error) later, and I was hooked. Even scarier, I was soon being asked for advice from other woodworkers!
I took every woodworking magazine I could find to sea with me to study, and would try as many projects as I could in my time off at home. Norm, the Rosendahls, and a few others would continue my education on the tube. For a couple of years there was a woodworking video magazine and I would watch those DVD's over and over. The camera work was first rate, especially for the turning segments done by Dick Sing. It was like having a private lathe teacher.
I am thrilled to see all of the YouTube woodworkers, especially the ones who show their mistakes. Seeing the successful and unsuccessful techniques is an incredible training aid. Of course, some just scare the daylights out of me with their techniques.
I've been trying to make a point of getting my daughters into the workshop. I truly feel they need to be exposed to creating with their hands, in whatever way they feel comfortable. My youngest even wanted to take a turning class, and she truly enjoys the lathe.
We've had as many as 20 girls over for a Girl Scout woodworking badge night, and it's quick to see how fast they can get over their fear of the basic tools and want to learn more. If only 10% of them get the bug, there should be a new crop of woodworkers in the future!