We are living in interesting times! Like so many organizations across the country, The Carpenter’s Boat Shop suspended our programming in March and experienced a big second-quarter drop in donations. Amidst the crisis we also recognized an incredible opportunity: the pandemic gave us the gift of time. Even as our staff worked hard to finish boats and paint jobs for our customers, we were holding planning sessions to develop new strategy and redesign our program.
We took the opportunity to address some long-standing questions about how our apprenticeship might have the most impact, and created a new four-month curriculum, repeated spring and fall. We can now serve twice as many participants as we did with our nine-month program, and stay nimble in a fast-changing environment. To further add value to the session, we introduced the Individual Capstone Project, where each apprentice delves into a project of their own choosing, with support from a staff member. We also explored in detail the safety protocols needed in order to host a new group of apprentices.
In mid-August we put all our plans together and welcomed six new apprentices, hailing from Maine to California to England, and launched our new programming. Since that first day, the crew has helped maintain our campus buildings, learned to safely use power tools, built their first skiffs, sailed around several islands, and given their care and labor to serve community members in need.
In our conversations with apprentices, we are ever curious as to how well our new programming is fulfilling our mission. Several participants have noted how living in community for the first time has taught them about themselves as well as others. For another apprentice, coming up against an initial fear of sailing and overcoming it has been both surprising and empowering. Another shared that committing himself to his capstone project has felt exciting and pretty scary, and yet he feels hopeful as he watches his confidence grow from day to day through the process of building a skiff.
This first crew is also helping us to build the ship as we sail it, with all the adventure and snags that this process entails. Amidst these challenges, we see many signs that they are thriving.
Today we ask you to help these and future apprentices to thrive by generously donating to our efforts via our online giving page. It is through your continued support that we have been able to honor our mission of Building boats, Nurturing lives, Helping others for the past 40 years. Now more than ever we need your support. Thank you so much.