Right Track Summer 2015
This summer Urban Boatbuilders partnered with the City of Saint Paul youth-employment initiative Right Track to provide a new opportunity to youth in the area. Together they offered a seven-week summer employment program to nine youth from Saint Paul. During the program, which spanned from mid-June to the end of July, the participants built two boats, a canoe and a kayak.
During the seven-week employment program, the focus was on developing not only boatbuilding skills, but also communication skills, strong work ethic, teamwork, and problem-solving skills. The youth finished the program with increased confidence in the workplace and new friends, in addition to their new-found craftsmanship. One participant, Sheeyeng, said of his experience with the program, “I learned to trust my team and that trust turned into a bond among our group—a bond that can never be broken.” Sheeyeng went on to talk about how the program’s influence made him realize he wants to be a “master carpenter or an engineer” in the future.
On July 22nd, the youth were surprised by Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman’s visit to the shop. They used the day to show the mayor everything they knew about boatbuilding, allowing him to try his hand as well! On July 31st the boats built through the program were launched at Lake Como in Saint Paul, where Mayor Coleman delivered inspiring words and paddled along with the youth. The day after the boat launch, the Right Track program participants departed for a two-day journey down the Mississippi River in the boats they made.
Youth Boat Launch
Wednesday, July 29th at Lake Como in Saint Paul, 18 Apprentices and nine Right Track youth had the wonderful experience of launching the boats they had made by hand. They launched from the Como Lakeside Pavilion at 6:00 p.m. surrounded by their family and friends, as well as friends of Urban Boatbuilders, including Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.
At the celebration, two youth gave speeches sharing their experiences. Lily, an Apprentice with Urban Boatbuilders, spoke on the wonderful experiences she had had thus far with the program. That night she said, “I have become connected to this line of work and am determined to continue working and learning from the true and traditional art of woodworking,” and went on to refer to her experience at Urban Boatbuilders as “fulfilling and rewarding.” Sheeyeng, a participant in the Right Track program through Urban Boatbuilders, said that the most important thing he had learned during the seven-week program was that “teamwork is everything when you are doing a job.” He went on to say, “This program has helped me learn more about myself and what I will become in the future.”
The youth with the Right Track program left the following morning for a trip down the Mississippi in their boats. The Apprentices have two trips to the Boundary Waters planned during the month of August.
Highview Summer Project 2015
This summer in June, three instructors, Collette, Stu, and Michael, had the opportunity to partner once again with the Highview Alternative Program in the Robbinsdale area. Urban Boatbuilders worked with Highview for the first time in the summer of 2014, and the program was such a success that we were able to continue our partnership!
The goal of the project was to build three Wilderness Traveler canoes in three weeks, with approximately 30 students. The instructors worked with students for six hours each day, incorporating math concepts into the boatbuilding process to help fulfill missing math credits for students. At the end of the project, four students graduated from high school as a result of their involvement! Furthermore, the Department of Community Education plans to donate the boats to local nonprofit organizations for them to use or sell, with the profits going back into community organizations.
Overall, the project was intense, but incredibly rewarding for both students and staff. The culmination of the students’ hard work and dedication was when they launched their newly built boats on a warm, cloudless day on Medicine Lake in Golden Valley. Thank you to Highview Alternative Program for allowing Urban Boatbuilders to serve more youth and build long-lasting relationships in new communities!
Click here to see photos from the project and their launch on Facebook.
Come See Us at the State Fair!
Last year in late summer, Urban Boatbuilders Apprentices set up shop at the Minnesota State Fair. This year we’ll be reprising our display and activities at the Department of National Resources Building, just south of the Grandstand! This year’s exhibit will feature a number of ways to get involved and show your support for Urban Boatbuilders.
Our Apprentices will be completing a boatbuilding project throughout the 12 days of the Fair! Fairgoers will have the chance to try their hand at lashing a canoe, and more importantly it's a chance to see our Apprentices in action! Our knowledgeable Volunteers will be there as well with information about the organization and boats, as well as about our paddle raffle. In addition, Fairgoers will have the chance to enter for their chance to win the canoe built on-site at the Fair! We will have several types of boats on display, all hand-crafted by our Apprentices, as well as information on State Fair special pricing on our boats.
The Minnesota State Fair runs from August 27th to September 7th. Stop by and see us at the Great Minnesota Get-Together! Urban Boatbuilders will be set up every day from 9 to 6 p.m. at the DNR Building near the fish pond. If you would like to join us as a Volunteer contact Lyla at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Boat Joke of the Month
What do you do with a sick boat?
Take it to the doc!