Waterlines - December 2013
Great things are happening at Urban Boatbuilders! We are excited to share some of them with you in this edition of Waterlines.
· A program expansion in which we will double the number of youth whose lives are impacted through the Apprenticeship Program.
· A fantastic annual event in which former apprentice, Maila, shared her powerful story and Don Shelby extolled the virtues of the Urban Boatbuilders program.
· New and ongoing school partnerships across the Twin Cities in which students are learning academic concepts through the hands-on boatbuilding process.
These are just a few of the many great things that are happening each and every day at Urban Boatbuilders. I wish you could see the view of the shop from our office window as Apprentices learn to take initiative, develop meaningful relationships, and experience personal and shared successes.
If you have already supported Urban Boatbuilders this season, thank you. If not, there is still time to make your tax-deductible contribution to support positive youth development through the building and use of boats!
Happy Holidays and New Year!
Michelle: A Day in the Life of an Urban Boatbuilders Apprentice
What is Urban Boatbuilders? Building or repairing boats is only half of what we do here.
A relaxed atmosphere, friendly vibe and a smile is what you will get when you walk through the door.
I found out about this job through a friend from school and decided to apply. I wasn’t sure if I could keep up with the boys or feel comfortable using the tools, but working here has given me the confidence that I can do something a man can do just as well, if not better.
Since being employed here I’ve learned so many things about tools, boats and woodworking. My favorite tool is the Japanese saw. It’s a large blade with sharp teeth that only cuts when it’s pulled backward. Immediately it became one of my favorite. I would have to say that the bandsaw is my least favorite tool in the shop. It’s a big machine with one long, skinny blade being rotated by two wheels on the inside. I was so scared of it that I almost didn’t want to keep working here. But I overcame my fear and I now know how to operate it without feeling so intimidated. Working here has exposed me to all kinds of different boats and types of wood such as oak, cherry and ash.
Urban Boatbuilders has been a great experience so far. I didn’t know there was so much that goes into making or repairing a boat. I’m learning time management skills and how to really pay attention to detail in everything I do. In the future I plan to use my new skills when I become an anesthesiologist, but of course I will use my skills beforehand, such as helping to repair things at home. I’m really happy I decided to apply; without my experience, I wouldn’t know how much i’m capable of. Ten years from now I’m going to build my own boats and send Marc and Phil around the world.
School Partnerships at American Indian Magnet School
By Carl Fristad
This fall I saw a posting for a Contract Instructor position opening at Urban Boatbuilders. As a volunteered for a few years on Wednesday nights during “Open Shop,” I had a vague idea of what I was getting into. I have always loved learning and sharing what I know about the craft of building things. After a few informal and formal interviews I was chosen by the Urban Boatbuilders staff as their new Contract Boatbuilding Instructor! I was very excited to share my knowledge,and love of craft with bright eyed and bushy tailed youth.
American Indian Magnet School (AIMS) is a wonderful middle school located at 3rd St. E. and Earl in east St. Paul. They have a wonderful after school program that is very well run and staffed. This year they elected to offer boatbuilding as part of their after school options, and it has been very popular. Because the program is limited to just a few students, the group has become very close and they have a lot of fun (and even manage to work on the boat a little bit too)! It’s been exciting and engaging to watch as students grow and develop hand-eye coordination and project planning. Students are learning not only how to make things, but why they are making them— why a proper box lashing works better to hold a boat together instead of just twisting some string around in a random path around 2 long sticks of wood.
The Boat, just named last week by the students, “Shapiera”, is taking shape! In the fall we started walked through the building process and started working on our hand skills with a few exercises. As the students worked on these very important skills they were having a hard time relating what they were doing to how they were going to make a boat out of a block of wood. Once the strongback and canoe mold arrived in the class, however, things really got started and a few students claimed that, “next week we can go out and ride it down the Mississippi!”. Yeah, or something like that… After we got all the ribs bent and longitudinals on and lashed, the keel and bow and stern on, we were finally ready to take it off the mold. It came off the mold just before Thanksgiving and the students were thrilled to finally be able to “see” how the boat was really going to look, loose ended ribs and all. In the beginning of December we started to rivet the ribs, gunwales and inwales together. The riveting experience was a great bonding time for the students and they all had a lot of fun. As the boat moves forward it will be a fun experience that I think the kids, and staff will remember for a long time.
Apprentice Spotlight: Meet Laquandis
We asked Laquandis, a 17 year old apprentice to share a little about herself and her experience as a brand new apprentice at Urban Boatbuilders.
What are you hoping to get out of being an apprentice at Urban Boatbuilders?
Learning how to work with and build boats. I can take the strategies that I learned hear and apply them to the rest of my life.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
A lawyer or a doctor. Phil told me that we learn how to write essays and stuff so that would be helpful as a lawyer and as a doctor it will be helpful to learn how to use tools
How did you find out about UBB?
Michelle, She told me it was fun and she liked working with the tools.
What tool are you most excited about using?
Favorite animal and why:
A black panther because they’re cool and fast and black like me.
A fun fact:
I’m funny, i’m never really angry. I like to say “dododoodot” when I don’t know what else to say.
If you could have any boat in the world what would you have?
A car boat, that drives and goes in the water
A Recap: The Apprenticeship Program's 10th Anniversary Celebration
On November 11th, Urban Boatbuilders hosted the Apprenticeship Program’s 10th Anniversary Celebration at the Dancer’s Studio! The event was a smashing success, full of beautiful boats and great company.
For staff and volunteers the day started bright and early at the Urban Boatbuilders shop moving boats from storage, preparing food and beverages, and setting up silent auction and giving tree items. The enthusiastic (if a bit groggy) crew of apprentices were instrumental to the morning, making sure everything looked right and was in it’s place.
As the event began, it was great to see both old and new faces, greeted at the door by the volunteer-built Trimaran. Guests were invited to help lash a brand new Wilderness Traveler canoe with the help of our current Apprentices. The apprentices not only had a great time teaching guests how to lash, but they learned a lot about what it means to be a good teacher, and how to communicate processes step by step. Other festivities included silent auction bidding, a giving tree raffle, and a jam packed program.
Marc Hosmer, Executive Director kicked off the program with a year in review and Program Manager introduced the Urban Boatbuilders Volunteer of the Year, Al Raymond. Al, who has dedicated numerous hours to the design and construction of new Wilderness Traveler canoes, was gifted with an engraved hammer for his efforts.
Maila Lee, a former apprentice, delivered an emotional and poignant speech about her life before, during and after Urban Boatbuilders. I think all who were in attendance would agree that Maila’s journey, altered by her Urban Boatbuilders experiance, is an unforgettable one. Her gifts of strength and perseverance were clearly demonstrated through her words.
Although Maila was a hard act to follow, Don Shelby did his very best. Providing an impassioned call to support wilderness and apprenticeship-based education, Shelby generously highlighted the great work Urban Boatbuilders does for youth in a culture becoming more and more technology based. Shelby’s support was not only a huge asset to the event, but a considerable continued asset to the organization.
As the evening continued, bidding on exciting auction gifts closed and the last giving tree items sold out. Final lashings were tied and friends said their goodbyes until open shop on next Wednesday or another great celebration in 2014!