Staff, volunteers, and youth have been working hard to develop a new program model for use in both the Apprenticeship and Partnership Programs — longboard building! Straight out of the brain of Collette King, who also manages the Partnership Program, youth will soon have the opportunity to build and use longboards as part of their experience with Urban Boatbuilders.
While there is never a lack of enthusiasm around the workshop for canoes, kayaks, and paddles, this new project will allow youth to have something to bring home with them. Youth will decorate the longboards with their own screenprinted designs, faciliating creative expression and making the board their own. As part of the project, youth will learn technique and best safety practices for board use. Getting outside on their longboards will allow youth to connect to public spaces and experience the nature in their own backyards.
Urban Boatbuilders connected with Rolling Tree, a local business that connects skaters and artists in the community to design boards and then produces them. Shop owners Matt and Mark showed Urban Boatbuilders staff a board-pressing demonstration and chatted with them about how to get the youth board-building project up and running.
Currently, staff are working on funding for the project, as well as finding all the tools, hardware, and safety gear we need to make it work. Alex, an Apprentice, has spent the past few months helping to prototype the boards with instructors. He’s looking forward to staying involved with the project as it progresses.
We look forward to keeping you updated on the status of the project! Stay gnarly.
Donor Spotlight: Kathleen Laughlin
Kathleen Laughlin is a dedicated supporter of Urban Boatbuilders. She is an engaged Minneapolis citizen, filmmaker, and outdoor enthusiast. People like her help weave our mission into the greater community. Meet Kathleen!
Why does Urban Boatbuilders appeal to you?
When I toured the shop, I became excited about Urban Boatbuilders’ being in our schools. For me, there weren’t offerings like this in school, and I understand that there are people that need this. Rather than just steady books all day long, there are people that need to feel accomplishment in other ways. You can’t always get this from reading books. Boatbuilding is a different kind of learning, and I’m thrilled that there’s a solution for this.
What’s one of your most impactful experiences as a teenager?
I went to Camp Ojiketa with Camp Fire Minnesota. I got on a bus, and I was in another world. I got to see myself as others would see me. I cooked things in a hole in the ground, dumped a canoe on purpose to learn how to get back in, and learned to ride horses. It was nothing but cool!
Request for Support
Those of you who are on our mailing list may recall having recently received a letter from us detailing our organizational progress, success, and needs, and asking you to consider donating in support of our mission and vision.
In 2016, we served more youth than ever before - 561 in total. These youth explored the wilderness for the first time, experienced success in school, and developed skills while building confidence.
As an organization, one of our most notable achievements was the creation of a four-year strategic plan. This plan lays out the vision for the state of our organization in the year 2020 and provides a roadmap for building programs, strengthening both organizational capacity and positive outcomes for youth.
Our work to achieve our vision has already begun. Among our goals for 2017 are the following:
- Develop a pipeline to employment for Apprentices
- Build and deliver comprehensive training for instructors
- Purchase tools and materials to deliver expanded programming
- Purchase an 8-boat trailer to facilitate on-water experiences with youth
- Establish new volunteer opportunities to expand program capacity and diversify volunteer pool
All of this and so much more is underway in 2017 to ensure we can achieve our 2020 vision. This work takes additional resources. A generous supporter has created a $12,000 matching challenge for increases donations. Every dollar you donate to Urban Boatbuilders over the amount you gave in 2016 will be matched dollar-for-dollar.
Thank you helping to create a strong future for Urban Boatbuilders and the youth we serve.