This past Thursday, students in Buffalo Maritime Center‘s Hand-to-Hand program launched their 6-hour canoes in Delaware Lake (Hoyt Lake – Delaware Park). Each year, students build the seaworthy crafts – the exercise allows them to gain an ample expertise in craftsmanship. Not only do they acquire the skills, and the tools, needed to build a complex object from scratch, they also come to understand the importance of camaraderie. Through technical hands on training, the students acquire invaluable life skills, while having a deeper appreciation for what it means to be dedicated and responsible to themselves and to others. Ultimately, launching the crafts into the water, and paddling around the lake, is the ultimate reward for all of their hard work.
Ron Kowalewski, Carpentry Teacher, Career Technical Education Buffalo Public Schools, Academy School 131 at 4, said; “Building the 6-hour canoe is a vehicle for change. I saw the students change emotionally as they saw the structure begin to look like a real boat. By staying focused on the long term goal of building the canoe, the students learned skills and gained an appreciation for the what it takes to build something beautiful and functional”.
Master Chief Scott Pugh, WNY Maritime Charter School, said, “Watching the cadets work with their mentors and build the boats is an awesome experience. The cadets gain confidence in both their workmanship capabilities and their inter-generational communication skills. They simultaneously went from watching mentors use the tools to using the tools with minimal supervision and having minimal conversations with the mentors to engaging them on a daily basis.”
“We could not be prouder of the students and all that they accomplished this year in the Hand-to-Hand program. They learned how to work together, work with their hands, and the rewards of good craftsmanship. And today, they are leaning that they built a real boat. You can see the excitement when they get into the boat they built for the first time”, says Brian Trzeciak, Buffalo Maritime Executive Director.
Gallery images courtesy Buffalo Maritime Center