Message in a Bottle
May 2019

Since the beginning of the new year, though your generous support, we can continue to serve justice-involved youth; so far 35 youths have gained the Tacoma Boat Builder experience, with 76.9% successfully completing the core program. 

We want to share a few successes with you so you can picture how important your role is in Enriching Lives Through Craftsmanship.
Case closed! Through dedication and discipline, this youth earned 247 hours learning with his mentors about craftsmanship, patience, and trying new things.  This young man had decided he wants to join us as a peer mentor right after he finishes the soccer season.  That's right! He has decided that this graduation isn't enough, he's coming back as an alumni to give back to the Boat Builder family.
Creativity discovered: After working on another project, this youth wanted to create something new.  He experimented until he figured it out - have you ever seen such a cute planter?
Quiet confidence: With the guidance of his mentor, this youth learned to carve and paint this marvelous wooden mask.
In 2018, over 4,100 hours were given by 36 mentor-craftspeople who meet the youth each week; with them, and our plucky group of back-end volunteers, the boats are floating, the lights are on, and we keep things moving along!

Oh, but wait, there's more....
On March 12, 2019, the Pierce County Council proclaimed the week of March 11-17 as "Volunteer Recognition Week" in Pierce County.  Tacoma Boat Builders is honored to have such a great set of mentors and volunteers that make this organization possible. 

And then, to double it...
March 16, these dedicated band of people were recognized at a lovely brunch as Pierce County's 2018 Volunteer Group of the Year.  The Pierce County Council presented them with a  plaque  (which is hanging in the office, come take a peek!) and the gift of a huge supply of sandpaper.

Thanks to our volunteers and mentors for making everything possible at the Boat Shop.
Watch the Council Meeting HERE
Guess who was featured in the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation's March Newsletter...

Tap on GTCF's logo to find out: 
Our Fleet Has Expanded

MEET PLUME - She's a Time-Traveler Come to Join Her Sister-Boat

Have you seen her? She's hard to miss! 
First the history lesson: During the summer of 1792, Captain George Vancouver of the British Royal Navy sailed, on a voyage of discovery commissioned by the Queen, into what is now known as the Straits of Juan de Fuca; aboard HMS DISCOVERY, accompanied by HM Armed Tender CHATHAM. These ships each carried on their decks smaller rowing and sailing vessels, generically called “longboats”. These boats performed many duties including: transport to and from shore, ship to ship exchanges of supplies and personnel, and any errand where mobility, self-sufficiency, and the ability to explore smaller passages or shallow water. In other words, the long boats go wherever the mother-ships could not fit.

During that long-ago summer, Captain Vancouver assigned one of his junior officers, Peter Puget, the task of leading several of the longboats to explore and map the great inland waters they had sailed into, ultimately, in a search for the fabled and elusive Northwest Passage.
Plume, along with her sister long boat Elder Spirit, are replicas of the very boats used by Vancouver and Puget. (Photo: Enrique on Elder Spirit).

Fast forward to the bicentennial celebration, in 1990’s, a number of mainly youth-focused experiential outdoor education programs began researching and building reproductions of the ship’s longboats. Each one was put in to service as community and team building platforms, with friendly maritime-themed competition events. That’s how Plume and Elder Spirit came to be, they were built for these programs and put in to service.

Shortly after Tacoma Community Boat Builders started working with justice-involved youth in Pierce County, Elder Spirit came in to the care of TCBB. She is a reproduction of a 23’ long boat off of HM Armed Tender CHATHAM. 
During the Summer of 2018 we were approached about another historic reproduction boat. We are happy to announce the addition of the 26’ PLUME, a reproduction of one the longboats off of HMS DISCOVERY. Built by the staff and students of the recently closed Home Port Learning Center in Bellingham, PLUME requires restoration of a number of structural members that have given in to time and weather exposure. This will provide plenty of work for our experienced and novice boat builders, as they prepare to add PLUME to our on-the-water rowing and sailing programs. 

- Chuck Graydon, Program Facilitator (Photo by Ronna Schwalk: Chuck Really Gets into His Work.)
Greetings, All! 
It's Jess here, I am honored to have been welcomed as Tacoma Boat Builders' Project Coordinator. I live and breathe PNW, being a Tacoma-bred and all. Before porting at TBB,I attended Pacific Lutheran University, where I earned both my B.A. in Social Work and MBA. I look forward to meeting all those that contribute to the essence of TBB! 
The weather is heating up, and the youth are preparing to give way! 
As summer sneaks up on us, the youth not only gain competencies in the shop, but they get to develop the confidence and new skills while out on the water.
Want to get even more involved?

Our mentors are unlike any other! 
As you already know, but there are other important ways to join the boat builder family. While a fine tool is one way to get to the mentor’s hearts, so are good snacks! They get hungry after their exertions. We are always gladly accepting your generosity with healthy snacks. Their favorites are Peanut butter-filled pretzels, cashew clusters, gluten-free chips, sparkling water, and mixed nuts. (All can be found at Costco).

We are also gearing up to strengthen other parts of our team with everything from youth advocacy and curriculum planning and more. Want to help? Get in touch with Jess at 253.730.8703 or
And always remember, Together, we are enriching lives through craftsmanship for Pierce County’s youth.

With much gratitude,
The Boat Shop Crew


Creating transformational opportunities for marginalized and underserved youth through boat building, woodworking, and positive mentorship.



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