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Since its inception in 1995, Urban Boatbuilders has stayed true to its mission to empower youth to build the skills they need to succeed in school, work, and life. The organization employs the medium of boatbuilding in order to serve youth who thrive through creative, hands-on development, and to allow instructors to weave in important skill practice such as problem solving, collaboration, and verbal communication.
Urban Boatbuilders works with 350 at risk youth each year providing experiential learning of wood working skills, positive workplace attitudes and personal growth through the building and use of wood boats. At risk youth first participate in small group boat building projects, building wood canoes, kayaks and rowing and sailing skiffs while working in a supportive, side by side mentoring environment. They launch these boats and learn on-the-water skills. Once they have completed a small group boatbuilding project the teens can apply to become a boat building apprentice and spend up to one year further developing their wood working skills and continuing to incorporate the values of self confidence, responsibility, perseverance, craftsmanship and cooperation.