Monday, 24 July 2017

ACBS, Gravenhurst and paddles!

Our thanks again to Toronto Chapter of ACBS for inviting K&C to participate in their Gravenhurst show! It turned out to be a great day, they gave us the perfect location and we kept the kids busy - carving!

The K&C team was MB, Anthony, Micheal Freeman and Mike Leigh. We towed up the Dileas, Richardson, sea fleas and two skiffs (plus 5 carving benches and the booth!)

Dileas at nearest dock to booth

skiff across from Dileas

Paddle carving a huge hit - we ran out of blanks!

Mini-Hopper and Mini-Miss Canada also a big hit.

Windswept III, 1935 Ditchburn 52' Yacht heads to Gan.

I have known the 1935 Ditchburn, 52' Yacht Windswept III since 1993 or so along with her owner Gordon Russell. She participated in the first kids-at-risk and antique boats events I created at that time and she was the logo for Mahogany Harbour when I created that kids boat museum in 1999 with partners Gordon and Bob Bannerman.

Gordon has had her fully restored over those years and he and I have cruised her to Ottawa, Clayton, Niagara-On-The-Lake and many other interesting points along the way. For health reasons Gordon has passed her along to the new Thousand Islands Boat Museum in Gananoque and he asked me to captain her there. So the Last Cruise of the Windswept happened a few weeks ago - apparently on the only two sequential calm days of the year!

MB at the helm

never get tired of this view

Beauty shots in the Murray Canal
beautiful lines and details, custom built for Billies Brothers
Pirates off the port beam!
Steve Carter and Ian Russell

The cruise was amazingly smooth, Grant met us at Murray Canal and Ian took us all to dinner at Drake's. Second day saw us arriving in Gan to a lovely reception!

Classics Against Cancer a great day

Again this year we were invited to take a display and be part of the Classics Against Cancer Antique Car Show in Cedarvale Park Georgetown. This is a huge car show which has been going for decades - I used to participate with my 1928 Armstrong - Siddeley Touring and XK120 Roadster - when I had them.

This year weather was fine and we headed up with Dileas, Richardson, both sea fleas and our now slightly famous Paddle Carving event. As usual the paddle carving was a huge hit!

Jim discussing our sea flea programme
all carving benches busy

really amazing to watch kids get into making a beautiful thing!

The Paddle Carving Event was created by our volunteer George Graham a few years ago when we were asked to create a programme in the shop for the Police Diversions Programme kids. It went over so well we began adding it to any outing involving setting up a booth including TIBS, Gravenhurst ACBS Show etc. We are now receiving requests to bring our dog and pony show to events.

these Kids are helping their kids get it right - sure they are...

It does get a bit addictive to see those long shavings come rolling off the paddle blank, so we get kids of all ages "trying it for a minute"!

Picton Raid 2017 a blast (again)

The K&C Picton Raid is one of the volunteer team's favourite events of the year and it is eagerly looked forward to! Member and co-founder Grant Reynolds has a cottage on the water in Picton and once a year his wife escapes and Grant invites the "boys" to a long weekend of boating and fine food! The view from his deck is fantastic:

sea fleas and cedarstrip
Scott with skiff converted to sail

The view OF the deck maybe not always so scenic.....

High water required some creative adjustments
well there was one bright spot...

back on the dock and water we had lots of fun and the outboards we brought all ran! Amazing - although we had minor problems with jets coming loose. We solved those back in the shop later.

New this year was having two sea fleas at the same time and that was a blast. Anthony brought his 16' Shepherd SkiBee purchased late last season and we spent quite a bit of time troubleshooting an overheating problem he is suspicious of. But it ran well and we had some lovely rides.

"You can't take too many engines"
Scott zooming his skiff along

Anthony in Mini-Hopper
My turn

And then the food. Wonderful stuff, Grant's annual curry creation, JJ and Ray BBQ etc etc.

The weather was wonderful, the location perfect - another memorable Picton Raid thanks to Grant and Lois!

Wayne's World outing in May

For some time it has been obvious that K&C should join the Maple Leaf Antique Outboard Club as we have a growing collection of donated outboards and they are likely to become an even more significant part of our youth programmes. Let me explain.

Over the past year you will have noticed the development of our own design sea flea - the second prototype is now done and running. It represents a change in design to allow us to use it in the Boats 4 Folks two day boatbuild event. Our suspicion is that it will do a better job of bringing kids back for more because of the prospect of going fast than the rowboat.

We'll need more sea flea sized engines (3hp to 18hp) and we'd like to see more volunteers who can fix, restore and teach kids how to fix them and keep them running. What better resource for information and possible volunteers than MLAOC!

So Anthony and I headed up to my friend Wayne and Ken's shop near Port Perry to join and get into it. Turned out to be very interesting, a great group of friendly and helpful enthusiasts including a really helpful workshop by the famous Ron Stevenson!

Anthony amongst outboards!

Wayne's AristoCraft collection

Wayne's World showroom/museum

MB with our high powered skiff

Wayne's World hydro's

So we had a great day visiting Ken and Wayne's shop/museum. Brick Oven BBQ lunch with gourmet pizza's were great as well. This was a super event and we look forward to a close connection between MLAOC and K&C!

And by the way, we could use an Outboard Collection volunteer curator to create displays, advise on collection growth, what to restore and what to leave as a "survivor" etc.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

TWSBA Conference shows new directions possible!

The Teaching With Small Boats Alliance is an ad-hoc group of organizations who are using the building of small boats to reach kids who may not learn so easily from a piece of paper. Our own Boats 4 Folks programme falls into this general sphere of influence.

TWSBA was founded by Joe Youcha who also founded the Alexandria Seaport Foundation & designed the skiff we build in order to work with street gangs in DC. That was in the late 80's and he is still going very strong! We have been aware of all this activity through reading WoodenBoat Magazine for many years and felt it was time to get more deeply into the theory and practice behind it.

I invited Matt to head to this year's conference which was held at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St Michael's MD, to see what we could learn that would move the needle for K&C.

The campus is amazing, we camped out in the Lighthouse on the CBMM grounds which was fun too. Best of all of course were the people we met - let's face it - 130 folks all committed to changing kids lives, would you expect to find duds? no.

CBMM boatshop from gallery
CBMM woodworking platform

Lighthouse behind Log Canoe restoration
view from lunch room deck!

CBMM boatshop other end!
 Each day was divided into sessions and locations in a grid, as we drove down we divided up the most appropriate sessions we felt would be best value for K&C and our own development. If you are interested in this subject please see the TWSBA website!

On the way down I was fired up with how to bring more S.T.E.M. (Science, Tecnology, Engineering and Math) teaching into our own Boats 4 Folks (B4F) programmes. (anyone who finds it ironic that someone with ADHD is leading this effort - shut up). By mid day Thursday I realized this would be a bonus but is not really a core of the B4F we currently run. In "4 kids build 12' boat in 2 Days" there is very little stem teaching - we are delivering a huge shot of self-esteem to kids who know failure really well. And this is something we will continue to do.

What did show up as a result of our participation in TWSBA was seeing a new path for a new programme. For some years we have been held back from creating school based programmes by the logistics of getting students into the boat shop, by the funding for a full time boatbuilder/E.D. which is necessary for integrated shop visits and the logistics of getting kids to the shop week after week. Here's what showed up...

K&C creates or finds a part-time skilled professional who can lead and train others in teaching stem through boatbuilding.

K&C creates the kits for delivery to the schools along with said leader who returns to the school weekly over a 10 - 12 week schedule for the delivery of the course. Eventually we would only need to deliver the kits and teaching material.

This solution solves a whole lot of problems including keeping the boatshop un-jammed to fulfill it's basic purpose of restoration training and fun messing about in boats. Plus unlimited growth potential

While we had some great takeaways from TWSBA I didn't want to arrive empty handed and i suspected we might have something to teach about small scale fundrasing as delivered by our raffle programme. The key to this is the time we spend turning each sow's ear into a Silk Purse. We had to take a finished skiff with us for our strategy to be understood and this worked -- most of the attendees had not gone down this route because what they are building is not saleable.

K&C is also close to delivering a sea flea based kids programme so we took our prototype Mini-Hopper. Nobody there knew what a sea flea was! Well they do now! We gave rides to a few and they were instantly in love and could see the magnetism of our planned programme on kids.

museum of recreational boats display Star and Comet
very tidy outboard display

Joe Youcha in boatshop door
Matt reviewing last session at a break
Skipjack ride was awsome

what me smile!?
Yup! Want one of these!

 So it was an amazing outing, next TWSBA Conference is in 2 years, location tba and hopefully K&C will be there with a team! Special thanks to Jenn Kuhn the ED of CBMM for doing a fantastic job of hosting this year's Conference. If you have never visited before - get it on your list - lovely weather in April too!

Monday, 6 February 2017

Toronto Boat Show huge hit for K&C

your museum without a museum was a real hit at the Toronto Boat Show this year. Our volunteers were great, the new signage worked, the new model of having the kids carving paddles on the weekends was a huge hit and all together everyone involved had lots of fun and we met lots of new (and old) friends of our projects.

It is clear from the response to our story that we are doing something in the Glen that could and should be repeated in other communities. Again we have inquiries to do this which we will be following up.

Here are a few pictures of the new booth and activities:

kids could climb into the boats on the floor
Chris coaches future boatbuilder?

Anton has a way with teaching
SeaFlea driver next summer!

set up to invite play and fun
Mini-Hoppers were a magnet

Naval Cadets boarded our ship

a repeated scene!

George keeps an eye out

Skiff was appreciated by many
Bernie gives a paddling lesson

And so the week flew by. There were some landmark events -- we began the Show with 70 Toss N Save entertaining life rings to sell and they were all gone by the end of the second day. Unfortunately we couldn't get any more. The first raffle was sold out by Monday and we held the draw on Wed. Kathy Rhodes pulled the winner Max Swartz from the drum and he is over the moon with his win! The second raffle was sold out by late the last day of the show, thanks in part to ACBS members Chris VanDerGrift and Ken Kirk who grabbed up the last 10 tickets. Rita Adams did the honours and pulled winner Bonnie DiBianco who is also thrilled to be a boat winner!

K&C Boatshops is entirely funded through our raffle ticket sales, disposal of occasional boats that do not fit our museum collection criteria and the generous financial, material and service gifts of folks and companies who just love what we do.

We can't thank you enough for your support. However if you see us on the water, remember we are really a Boatride Museum more that a "look at" museum. So say hello and perhaps get a Boatride. We'll be doing that at the ACBS boatshow in Gravenhurst - second weekend in July. See you there or visit us any Saturday in our boatshop in Glen Williams!