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Building Boats, Launching Lives

Posted on 17 September 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Geri Jwanouskos listened to Matthew McPherson explain canoe building techniques.

Darwin Muzzy tried his hand at lashing a canoe frame.

Darwin Muzzy tries his hand at lashing a canoe frame during an Urban Boatbuilders event at Como Lake Pavillion on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. Urban Boatbuilders is a 501(c)(3) non-profit focused on empowering youth to be successful in work and life through woodworking and experiential learning. Urban Boatbuilders was founded in 1995 as a partnership between community leaders who saw an increasing lack of opportunities for youth to learn, develop, and grow through hands-on activities. Last year, the organization served more than 850 youth throughout the Twin Cities. The Como Lake event celebrated the graduation of 20 youth apprentices. At the event, youth launcedh boats they built, told stories from their build, shared their visions for their futures, and led a hands-on community build experience for guests to learn woodworking skills. During a three-month intensive Apprenticeship Program, youth facing barriers to employment developed work skills and stronger visions for their futures while building skin-on-frame canoes. Through coaching, mentorship, and collaborative boatbuilding, Urban Boatbuilders’ apprentices leave the program with enhanced work skills, greater self-confidence, and stronger visions for their futures. (Photo by Terry Faust)


(L-R) Urban Boat builders Damarion Evan and Tamysha Camaco-Estdgillo navigate Lake Como in one of their new canoes.

Kiara Montgomery, a senior Urban Boat Builder, shows (L-R) Carey Montez, Jan Montez, Faith Wisland, and Richard Wisland learned how to lash together a canoe frame on a practice stand during an event at Lake Como Pavillion on Aug. 21, 2019

Canoes built by Urban Boat Bulders line up at Lake Como, ready to take to the water.

2019 Midway Chamber Directory