Apprentice Treks 2010

Trekkers Launches Apprentice Treks 2010!

Sat Mar 20, 2010
Day 1

The day has finally arrived; the first day of Spring.  And, the first day of Apprentice Treks!

Students arrived together in the Trekkers bus to the Apprentice Shop, located on route 1 in Rockland.  A school for traditional boat building, the Apprentice Shop (formerly Atlantic Challenge) takes on Apprentices every year, who sign up for two years of service learning, leaving Rockland Maine as accomplished, experienced boat builders.

We all met with our two Apprentice helpers, Drew and Adam, in a sunny room to the side of the workshop, over looking the beautiful Rockland Harbor.  Meredith lead some fun get to know you games such as Zip-Name-Zoie and Left-Right-Me-You.  Just kidding, they’re actually called Zip-Zap-Zoie and Bumpity-Bump-Bump-Bump.

After a great round of Captain’s Coming, we got a great tour of the workshop from Drew and Adam, including explanations of what type of boats they were building and why.

After lunch, we started getting oriented in the shop.  Drew and Adam gave us a run down of how to use our tools, then let us get used to them on scrap pieces of wood.  We won’t start building our boats for a couple sessions, as Adam and Drew continue to teach us how to use our tools safely.

It was a great first day!  Tune in Wednesday for an update on our next meeting!


Tue Mar 23, 2010
Shop day 2

Another successful day at the Apprentice Shop!  Everyone arrived, soggier than our last meeting, to learn more about how to use all the tools we’ll be needing over the next couple of months.  Everyone learned how to properly use a hand saw, both a Western saw and a Japanese saw.  The western saw cuts as you push it away from your body, while the Japanese saw cuts as you pull it towards your body.  Most of us didn’t know there were two kinds of saws, but by the end of the day, we were all comfortable with both versions.

We also learned how bevel a piece of wood with a hand plainer, how to make an edge perfect square, how to measure out 90 degrees and how to check for the perfect edge.

Thanks Drew and Adam!  Tune in next week for updates on this Saturday, where we begin the process of building out boats!

Sat Mar 27, 2010
First Build Day in the shop!

Sun Jun 06, 2010
Boat Launch

After weeks of building, measuring, beveling, gluing, hammering and painting, the launch day rolled around, quicker than seemed possible, along with enormous thunder clouds and torrential downpours!  Amidst thundering rain and rumbling thunder, the students brought their family and friends into the Apprentice shop to ceremonially induct their handmade vessels into the great wide ocean.

With the three boats painted beautifully, all the families of our Apprentice Treks students came a little early for a pot-luck and a private tour of the Apprentice Shop.  Each boat, painted and designed by team members, had it’s own special place of honor and plenty of enthusiastic tour guides.

Team Bob the Builder’s Boat, painted a stunning black and red, was manned and showed off by Zach, Chelsea, Sarah, Sean and Sam.  Team Neon Gravy Panther’s boat, painted blue with yellow stripes, plus a “neon gravy” custom coat on the bottom, was shown by Brandon, Doug and Emily.  Lastly, team Moto, comprised of Taylor, Ellory, Sienna and Alec, showed off their blue, white and red boat to the amazed and proud crowd.

After some inspiring words from Meredith, our apprentice shop leaders Drew, Adam and Eric explained a little more about what the Apprentice Shop is and why we started the Apprentice Treks program.  The Apprentice Shop, a traditional boat building school, does a great deal of community outreach through their community sailing program, but was seeking a way to introduce the heart of the organization, the shop, to a younger crowd.  Trekkers, always looking for new ways to introduce the youth of our community to the myriad opportunities here, was looking for a partner organization to further the mission of connecting caring adults to young people, this time through the use of experiential education.  The handful of students brave enough to be the first group in the Apprentice Treks program, showcased their amazing results of this collaboration on Saturday, demonstrating the skills they learned in the shop and getting a chance to enjoy the product of all their hard work.

The boats, in short, were beautiful.

As an added incentive for the students, they had the largest say in what happened to our boats once the program ended.  Though discussion and a group consensus process, they decided that Trekkers and the Apprentice shop should keep one for history’s sake, that one should be auctioned off and the proceeds be put back into the program for next year, and that one boat should be part of a student raffle, to be given to one lucky student on the day of the boat launch.  So reader, you may ask, who was the lucky kid?  It was… Brandon Toler!  After putting everyone’s name into Meredith’s Ranger-Rick hat (waterproof) the mighty Executive Director pulled Brandon’s name out, gifting him the blue, yellow and green boat built by Neon Gravy Panthers, Brandon’s team.  Good work, good fortune to you Brandon! After some runners are put on the bottom of the boat, Brandon will take home his custom made skiff and do whatever he pleases with it.  Quite the raffle eh?

Unfortunately, Poseidon and the sea were not cooperating with the Apprentice Treks students, as the day wore into fouler weather by the minute.  When lightning cracked the sky, plans were adjusted just a little, and the launching ceremony stayed indoors.  Each team took a bit of seawater taken from the bay and splashed a bit on the floor (for the ocean) and a bit in the boat (for the boat), then took a rock, also taken from the bay, and scratched their boat to signify it’s first journey out into the world.  After scratching the boat, the teams each poured out a little sparkling apple cider onto the floor for the sea, and onto the boat for a blessing, then passed the cider around for the builders.  It was a wonderful, fun and beautiful capstone moment to several months of adventurous building, learning and working together.

Not many students or mentors knew very much about building boats (or anything) before arriving at the Apprentice Shop, but every single person gave it their all in this first-ever program and not only learned some sweet new skills, but created a lasting and beautiful monument to their adventurous spirits in the form of three unique, hand crafted wooden boats.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *