Blog: September 2011
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
It’s the first day of the new build season for Urban BoatWorks. Jesus Castro, our Program Director, our team of volunteers and their students start the afternoon not by looking at blue prints or sorting through supplies of plywood, epoxies and tools, but rather with stories of adventure. I watch as Vincent’s eyes grow wide sharing a story from his UrbanTrekkers expedition to the Florida Everglades. He tells his classmates about a partially submerged alligator gliding slowly across the surface of Nine Mile Pond only feet away from his canoe. Maria shares about her recent trip to Assateague Island, Maryland where she kayaked through coves on the back bay and paddled right up to wild ponies feeding on the grasses in the salt marsh.
Some of these students had never been in a boat, didn’t know how to swim, and were even afraid of the water, but they too were visibly excited by the stories of far off places and adventure told by their classmates. Building a boat is a long and arduous project with lots of repetitive tasks that can wear down even the most serious of students. Swimming lessons, sailing classes and paddling trips help to build confidence and stir the imagination of our young boat builders, helping them to see beyond blueprints and the haze of sawdust to imagine adventures of their own someday.