Across the United States, over 60 youth boatbuilding programs serve thousands of disadvantaged youth each year. Through the building and use of wooden boats, these programs are highly successful at teaching math and science and helping their students to develop essential life skills. Before 2014 , Hampton Roads, despite a long and enduring maritime heritage, did not have such a program. In February of that year, Tidewater Wooden Boat Workshop (TWBW) was incorporated as a Virginia charitable organization and on July 25, 2014 was granted 501(c)(3) tax exempt status by the Internal revenue Service. After moving into our new workshop space in June 2015 we conducted our inaugural, "Summer 2015 Boatbuilding Program." Youth boatbuilding had finally come to the Hampton Roads area! Since that summer, over 500 area youth have participated in our programs.
Tidewater Wooden Boat Workshop teaches disadvantaged youth STEM and life skills through the building of wooden boats and other nautical activities. Our vision is to establish within Hampton Roads a vibrant youth boatbuilding program, with on-water activities such as rowing, sailing and environmental science projects, which provide young men and women positive, exciting, hands-on learning opportunities in a safe, friendly, enjoyable environment. These experiences will enable them to develop the educational and life skills that increase their chances of successfully graduating high school and continuing their education or finding meaningful employment.
The target audience for our programs are young men and women, ages 12 to 18, from throughout the Hampton Roads area. While our primary focus is serving youth challenged by unfavorable social, economic or educational conditions, we believe that a diversity in backgrounds will positively impact all participants. Thus, our programs are open to any youth having a desire to learn the art and craft of wooden boatbuilding and improve their life skills.