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In an ordinary year, an image of Rocking the Boat’s beloved 19’ hand-built sailboat Legacy filled nearly to her coaming with water would not be one designed to inspire. But 2020 is no ordinary year and in fact, it’s the water saturating the cedar planking and causing it to swell, that keeps Legacy watertight.

This swamped boat of a year magnified the inequities that have, dismayingly, been present all along in Rocking the Boat students’ daily lives, but have also deepened our resolve to thwart them. Rocking the Boat’s renowned youth development programs counteract the many issues they face—under-resourced schools, doors closed to advancement, access to nature, health deficits, and so many other effects of the racist history and policy that plague the South Bronx. As we near the end of this punishing year, we are committed to using every resource at our disposal to help the young people of the South Bronx not just stay afloat, but sail.

swamped-mobile.jpg

In an ordinary year, an image of Rocking the Boat’s beloved 19’ hand-built sailboat Legacy filled nearly to her coaming with water would not be one designed to inspire. But 2020 is no ordinary year and in fact, it’s the water saturating the cedar planking and causing it to swell, that keeps Legacy watertight.

This swamped boat of a year magnified the inequities that have, dismayingly, been present all along in Rocking the Boat students’ daily lives, but have also deepened our resolve to thwart them. Rocking the Boat’s renowned youth development programs counteract the many issues they face—under-resourced schools, doors closed to advancement, access to nature, health deficits, and so many other effects of the racist history and policy that plague the South Bronx. As we near the end of this punishing year, we are committed to using every resource at our disposal to help the young people of the South Bronx not just stay afloat, but sail.

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turned

17-year old Wilfrandy found himself suddenly treading water. Most novice sailors dread one mishap more than any other – capsizing. Catching a strong gust at the wrong angle, leaning your weight the wrong way can flip the boat and put a sailor in the water quickly. When it happened to Wilfrandy for the first time on a windy day this fall, he was too shocked and scared to let go of the boat and take the steps to right it. His confidence too was soaked.

Kinney Glass, the Sailing Job Skills Program Director and Rocking the Boat alumnus believes capsizing is one of the most important lessons a sailor can learn. Not simply about boat handling, but the ability to recover from something that went wrong. That’s why the program curriculum includes capsize and recovery drills.

With practice over the next few weeks, Wilfrandy became so proficient at righting his boat, he was proud to show off his skills in a video the class recently created to share with family and friends.

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Kinney Glass, the Sailing Job Skills Program Director and Rocking the Boat alumnus believes capsizing is one of the most important lessons a sailor can learn. Not simply about boat handling, but the ability to recover from something that went wrong. That’s why the program curriculum includes capsize and recovery drills.

With practice over the next few weeks, Wilfrandy became so proficient at righting his boat, he was proud to show off his skills in a video the class recently created to share with family and friends.

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turned

17-year old Wilfrandy found himself suddenly treading water. Most novice sailors dread one mishap more than any other – capsizing. Catching a strong gust at the wrong angle, leaning your weight the wrong way can flip the boat and put a sailor in the water quickly. When it happened to Wilfrandy for the first time on a windy day this fall, he was too shocked and scared to let go of the boat and take the steps to right it. His confidence too was soaked.

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stuck

Mouctar and Meliza are part of a group of Hyde Leadership Charter School students who joined the Environmental Science Program last fall. With the other participants, they have learned to become a tightknit crew in the rowboats they use to conduct their conservation projects on the Bronx River. But this reach of the river is a tidal estuary. Sometimes the tide goes way out. Recently, the group was returning to shore at the end of a program day, when the dropping tide left their boat bogging down in the river bottom. They knew there would soon be no water to float on, and daylight was fading too. They weren’t sure what to do, and loathe to leave the boat for the knee-deep mud.

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in the mud

Dragging a rowboat out of the muddy Bronx River turned out to be a supreme test of teamwork. Their Program Director Rocking the Boat graduate Jasmine Benitez helped Mouctar, Meliza and the crew figure out that with all hands working, pushing and pulling with the same level of coordination they use to row the boat, they could get their boat ashore. By then, the mud wasn’t even icky anymore, it was fun. The mucky duck-walk they had to do to stomp through it was turned into a dance dubbed “The Low Tide Shuffle.” Their triumph has come up in group discussions as a lesson to remember when confronting challenges they encounter elsewhere.

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stuck

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in the mud

Mouctar and Meliza are part of a group of Hyde Leadership Charter School students who joined the Environmental Science Program last fall. With the other participants, they have learned to become a tightknit crew in the rowboats they use to conduct their conservation projects on the Bronx River. But this reach of the river is a tidal estuary. Sometimes the tide goes way out. Recently, the group was returning to shore at the end of a program day, when the dropping tide left their boat bogging down in the river bottom. They knew there would soon be no water to float on, and daylight was fading too. They weren’t sure what to do, and loathe to leave the boat for the knee-deep mud.

Dragging a rowboat out of the muddy Bronx River turned out to be a supreme test of teamwork. Their Program Director Rocking the Boat graduate Jasmine Benitez helped Mouctar, Meliza and the crew figure out that with all hands working, pushing and pulling with the same level of coordination they use to row the boat, they could get their boat ashore. By then, the mud wasn’t even icky anymore, it was fun. The mucky duck-walk they had to do to stomp through it was turned into a dance dubbed “The Low Tide Shuffle.” Their triumph has come up in group discussions as a lesson to remember when confronting challenges they encounter elsewhere.

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remote

Roberston was a member of Rocking the Boat’s class of 2020. Like seniors everywhere, his expectations for the end of his senior year were dashed by the pandemic. Going to the prom, being handed a diploma at a commencement ceremony, Rocking the Boat’s scholarship awards dinner, were all gone. Robertson felt the strain and isolation of being disconnected from school, friends, and activities. Yet, what he and many seniors began to experience more acutely was a disorienting lack of closure to their high school chapter.

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connection

Robertson took full advantage of all the ways Rocking the Boat kept participants engaged with the programs and each other. He stayed connected to his friends and favorite subject by attending the Environmental Job Skills class remotely. In weekly Social Work virtual sessions throughout the spring hosted by the Director of Social Work, Xiomara Ayala, he was able to talk with other seniors who were experiencing the same thing. As a graduate, he was paired with a Rocking the Boat Alumni Mentor in the summer who began preparing him to start attending college at far away St. Lawrence University in upstate New York, a stone’s throw from the Canadian border. In a touching act of transition, Robertson logged on to the last program session of his Rocking the Boat career from the dorm room he had just moved into that morning. He is still connected, and now giving back. This month he is joining a presentation for juniors and seniors about the New York State scholarship program that enabled him to attend a private, four year school.

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remote

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connection

Roberston was a member of Rocking the Boat’s class of 2020. Like seniors everywhere, his expectations for the end of his senior year were dashed by the pandemic. Going to the prom, being handed a diploma at a commencement ceremony, Rocking the Boat’s scholarship awards dinner, were all gone. Robertson felt the strain and isolation of being disconnected from school, friends, and activities. Yet, what he and many seniors began to experience more acutely was a disorienting lack of closure to their high school chapter.

Robertson took full advantage of all the ways Rocking the Boat kept participants engaged with the programs and each other. He stayed connected to his friends and favorite subject by attending the Environmental Job Skills class remotely. In weekly Social Work virtual sessions throughout the spring hosted by the Director of Social Work, Xiomara Ayala, he was able to talk with other seniors who were experiencing the same thing. As a graduate, he was paired with a Rocking the Boat Alumni Mentor in the summer who began preparing him to start attending college at far away St. Lawrence University in upstate New York, a stone’s throw from the Canadian border. In a touching act of transition, Robertson logged on to the last program session of his Rocking the Boat career from the dorm room he had just moved into that morning. He is still connected, and now giving back. This month he is joining a presentation for juniors and seniors about the New York State scholarship program that enabled him to attend a private, four year school.

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nailed

Bent nails began to pile up. So did the frustration for Jackie and her class of Student Boatbuilders driving rivets into the hull of their latest boat. After measuring, shaping, and assembling the entire hull of a 17-foot Whitehall rowboat, riveting the planks to each other with copper nails and roves (cone-shaped washers) was a new and unfamiliar task. It involved a centuries-old technique using a ball peen hammer, a backing iron, a rove set, and a pair of nippers to create the equivalent of a super-tight double-sided nail. It wasn’t going well. Squeezing into the tight spots up toward the bow was a challenge, as was simply getting the nail to go in straight through the overlapped cedar planks. The nails that refused to cooperate threatened to split the hull if removed. For the students, the mangled nails felt permanent, and so did the mistakes.

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together

The Student Boatbuilding Program Director, Manny Roman, and Program Assistant, Basilous Falconer, both Rocking the Boat graduates, see the misshapen nails as a chance for students to sharpen their judgment about remedying mistakes. It is simple enough to introduce new tools for certain situations, or alternate methods for dealing with an incorrectly driven nail. What is more important is for students to develop problem solving chops and confidence in their choices. The students were encouraged to consult each other to build expertise, such as when to straighten a nail and when to pull it and patiently try again. Soon the students were no longer asking Manny and Basilous what to do, but one another. Jackie became the most proficient riveter in the class, and most sought by her peers for teaching and advice.

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nailed

Image

together

Bent nails began to pile up. So did the frustration for Jackie and her class of Student Boatbuilders driving rivets into the hull of their latest boat. After measuring, shaping, and assembling the entire hull of a 17-foot Whitehall rowboat, riveting the planks to each other with copper nails and roves (cone-shaped washers) was a new and unfamiliar task. It involved a centuries-old technique using a ball peen hammer, a backing iron, a rove set, and a pair of nippers to create the equivalent of a super-tight double-sided nail. It wasn’t going well. Squeezing into the tight spots up toward the bow was a challenge, as was simply getting the nail to go in straight through the overlapped cedar planks. The nails that refused to cooperate threatened to split the hull if removed. For the students, the mangled nails felt permanent, and so did the mistakes.

The Student Boatbuilding Program Director, Manny Roman, and Program Assistant, Basilous Falconer, both Rocking the Boat graduates, see the misshapen nails as a chance for students to sharpen their judgment about remedying mistakes. It is simple enough to introduce new tools for certain situations, or alternate methods for dealing with an incorrectly driven nail. What is more important is for students to develop problem solving chops and confidence in their choices. The students were encouraged to consult each other to build expertise, such as when to straighten a nail and when to pull it and patiently try again. Soon the students were no longer asking Manny and Basilous what to do, but one another. Jackie became the most proficient riveter in the class, and most sought by her peers for teaching and advice.

 

Thank you for helping to sustain and grow Rocking the Boat’s
youth development programs

Thank you for helping to sustain and grow Rocking the Boat’s
youth development programs



kids don’t just build boats, boats build kids

rocking the boat
812 edgewater road
bronx, ny 10474

info@rockingtheboat.org
phone: 718.466.5799
fax: 718.466.2892

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