For a Group of St. Louis Kids, a Boatload of Learning – and Fun

By on August 5, 2019

From St. Louis Post-Dispatch:  Many of the kids who showed up for a summer camp at the Building Futures workshop Monday had never set foot in a boat before. On Friday, they launched a boat they built themselves, and rowed it across the water at Forest Park with oars they made by hand.

The project was part of a weeklong camp taught by Jay Reeves, board vice president and volunteer instructor for Building Futures, who wanted to show the kids just how much they are capable of.

Reeves, who is an architect at SPACE Architects + Designers + Builders, said throughout the week the kids had opportunities to use band saws, hand planes, hand saws, routers, hammers, nails, caulk and epoxy. He added that this model of boat is great for a youth program because once all the prep work is done, it only really requires hand tools.

Building Futures was founded with the goal of providing hands-on experience for young people in city schools, where classes like woodworking are scarce, said Executive Director Frank Lorberbaum.

Lorberbaum, 76, spent 30 years as a builder for a construction company before founding Building Futures with Gay Lorberbaum and Paul Krautmann in 2012.

Building Futures is located at 2720 North 13th Street in Old North St. Louis, in a building that was renovated by the Kranzberg Arts Foundation.

Building the boat

On Wednesday afternoon, the team was working to attach a railing to the side of the boat.

Lawrence Prograis, program manager for Building Futures, helped one camper measure and draw a line along the side of the boat where the railing would eventually be attached.

One camper marked points every four inches where nails would hold the railing in place, and another drilled holes into the side of the boat where the nails would go.

Later, the group put the railing on the floor and a few kids worked together to put a line of adhesive along the inside. Then the team put the railing on the boat and secured it with clamps.

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