The Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory provides out-of-school-time apprenticeships to Philadelphia youth.
Student Yamir Jackson-Adens, 18, told reporter Paul Sullivan, "In boat building, you learn stuff.
It was founded in 1996 by Geoffrey McKonly, who believed disengaged youth needed a hands-on activity in a constructive environment to help them develop and apply academic skills. School Design Studio is dedicated to engaging clients worldwide in organizational change processes that result in creative, unique, inspiring, motivational and effective community learning environments.
See John Sole's video of 6th and 7th grade students from a public charter school in Philadelphia, working with world-class Community Partner, the Wooden Boat Factory designed and built 4 boats. BTW, there are 3 other videos on the blog that it may be worth investing a few minutes to view.
Founded in 1996, Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory provides hands-on maritime-based educational programs. Geoffrey McKonly founded the organization in 1996 because few developmental opportunities existed for underperforming and economically disadvantaged youth. Brett Hart, the organization’s Executive Director grew up in Frankford, on Hawthorne Street not far from the Globe.
Also on the team are Victoria Guidi, Program Director and Andrew Cintron, Program Assistant. Community Row participants are given the opportunity to learn about the local watershed and to explore the quiet stretch of the northern Delaware River using the PWBF fleet of rowing vessels. Boat Build and Sail is a year-round (after-school and summer) program that offers students the opportunity to participate in project based learning in the fields of wooden boat building and competitive sailboat racing.
A couple of days later got a call from a guy named Brett who said he would be happy to give me the story and we could meet at the Globe over on Worth Street.  I met with him last Wednesday and got a better story than I had bargained for.


Brett Hart is thirty something and lived on Hawthorne Street and attended Frankford Friends.  He is the Executive director of the Philadelphia Wooden boat Factory.
This is another of the interesting things going on over at the Globe in historic East Frankford.
Based on the Donzi Sweet 16, this little treasure boasts a generous deep V at the transom allowing for smoother running and bad weather handling. We are happy to tailor this vessel for your inboard, or modify the transom to suit your preferred outboard.
Please visit our Deep V 16 page to see build images and links to videos of this boat at speed.
The plans and kits posted here are the lawful property of the designers or heirs who posted them. The after-school program for high school students is being celebrated for using the boat building craft as a way to learn life schools that serve young people wherever their careers take them.
Through immersion in the maritime arts and sciences, youth build on their own social and emotional strengths and develop the competencies and resilience necessary to thrive in post-secondary education and employment. Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory transitioned in 2010 from its initial school-based, vocational-technology approach, to an out-of-school-time model, expanding both the numbers it serves annually as well as the range and duration of its programming.
School Design Studio facilitates collaborative interchanges in planning, design and implementation of school designs intended to empower children, youth, parents, teachers, and surrounding community. He saw a need for a program that could provide youth with meaningful activities that would be central to academic achievement, and also address the needs of students that are often not met at home or in school.
Riverguides empowers students to become teachers and environmental advocates, and to organize riparian zone restoration projects.
The program is equal parts competitive one design racing and traditional wooden boat building apprenticeship.


Each semester students begin by examining the project’s driving question: “What are the things I will learn during the building and sailing of a wooden boat that will help me in other aspects of my life?” In the months that follow, as students continue the process of re-defining their answer to this question, they develop a toolkit of 21st century skills that will be invaluable as they make the transition into post-secondary education. Available as an outboard and inboard it an easily tow-able boat that will bring you home and take you out with a minimum off fuss. WoodenBoat magazine nor any of our staff or agents bear any liability concerning the correct ownership or inherent safety of these designs or boats. You don't have a whole lot of restrictions." In words summarizing the epitome of a woodworking apprenticeship, he says, "It's more of a trial-and-error kind of thing.
When students are working with their hands and learning woodworking and a variety of maritime skills, they are engaged in dynamic activities that blend physical strength and endurance with problem solving and academic enrichment that leads to success and personal growth.
Prior to joining PWBF, Brett was employed by the Los Angeles Maritime Institute going to sea with teenage students from East Los Angeles.
Riverguides work with the science staff to build and deliver interactive, hands-on lesson plans for the Community Row Program. Students begin with the building of the organization’s “Factory One-Design”, and stay on to campaign the boat with their teammates from the on-water facility at the Frankford Arsenal boat Ramp.
He was the Captain and Director of Maritime Education for Philadelphia City Sail on board their 75? Schooner North Wind, traveling for extended periods with Philadelphia teenagers.
Riverguides work within to restore local ecosystems and rebuild riparian zones along the fragile northern Delaware River, at present focused on Lardners Point park at the foot of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge.



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