Rocking the Boat's reputation for developing youth through building boats stretches across the country. People from all over the map regularly call Executive Director Adam Green looking for advice on how to start their own youth boatbuilding programs. Hannah Lynch first learned about Rocking the Boat through the 2011 Teaching with Small Boats conference. Having gone to school at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding in Washington State following years working as a park ranger and a wilderness therapy trip leader, she was inspired by the idea of integrating boatbuilding and youth development. Following the conference she worked at two other educational boat building programs: Urban Boat Builders in St. Paul, MN and the Wind & Oar Boat School in Portland, OR, but always dreamed about working for Rocking the Boat—the most developed program of its kind in the country. Even though she was living and working in Portland and loved being there, after seeing the Boatbuilding Program Director job description she jumped to apply, only slightly concerned that she had never before been to New York City. Following two Skype interviews, she was offered the job and within two weeks packed up her life and drove East. Rocking the Boat is thrilled to have someone with such a depth of experience and commitment to the work, not to mention adventurous spirit, join the staff.
"I love building wooden boats," beams Hannah. "I love providing a safe space for youth to come and learn new skills, work with their hands, trust their eyes, and not be afraid to dive into something new and unusual and overwhelming, possibly fail, and try again. And I like hanging out talking about all that with them; both in a light-hearted-shop-banter kind of way, and a sit-down-and-let's-get-real sort of way."
Hannah's first Rocking the Boat project is a classic 14-foot Whitehall. All 23 Boatbuilding students and the Rocking the Boat staff agreed that the boat should be dedicated to the memory of a Boatbuilding Program alumna, Mellissa Mulcare Boatswain, affectionately known as Melly, whose valiant fight against cancer ended in August. A Boatbuilding student from 2006 to 2008 and a Program Assistant for the past year, Melly handled more than her share of challenges with an amazingly positive attitude. The achievement she was proudest of, and credits Rocking the Boat with supporting her through, was navigating the immigration process and receiving her authorization card to work in
the United States. She informed Adam the day it arrived in the mail and called Rocking the Boat "the most important thing that I ever did," and encouraged the team to keep it up "because I believe in my heart that you change lives every day." The boat being built to remember Melly was lifted off the strongback on December 13 and will be launched on June 7, 2014.
Sailing season at Rocking the Boat has come to an end and oh what a season it was! Students, Apprentices, and Program Assistants had incredible adventures including experiences that most people—from any walk of life—only dream of having.
a private tour of New York Harbor aboard Black Watch, a 68-foot yawl built in 1938 and restored to her original elegance in 2005
back-to-back four-day excursions in Legacy and Triumph, 19-foot Expedition Boats, and Spartina, an 18-foot Cape Cod Oyster Skiff, between Hunts Point and undeveloped Calf Island off the Connecticut shore
daily sail training on Legacy and Triumph throughout the spring, summer, and fall out of the mouth of the Bronx River toward the Manhattan skyline
cruises on Rocking the Boat's 30-foot Pearson Flyer keelboat around City Island
a US Sailing Basic Keelboat course and a Safe Powerboating course for On-Water Program Assistants as well as 420 races all at SUNY Maritime