Up North: Youth in Duluth Build Canoe

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Over the span of two weeks, 25 to 30 kids in Duluth worked together to build a canoe, with the guidance of the Duluth Folk School and partnering organizations.

Urban Boatbuilders, based in St. Paul, has spent the last 26 years building boats with at-risk youth in the Twin Cities area. The organization partnered with the Duluth Folk School to get a canoe-building program started here.

Youth from Men as Peacemakers as well as from Boys and Girls Club participated in the build. After a total of 65 hours of hard work, the boat was completed.

Last Tuesday, some of the participants took it out on the water at the Munger Landing. Building the canoe helped the kids become more comfortable in their own skin as they learned valuable skills.

“I think it was really amazing watching them pick up some of these tools for the first time ever and then look at this pile of materials and piece together how this is going to happen,” said Youth Program Coordinator Erika LeMay.

This project was funded with grants from the Duluth Superior Community Foundation and the Lloyd K. Johnson foundation. Two more builds are currently being planned, but LeMay hopes for even more.

“We’d love to keep offering this type of program and partnering with different youth organizations just to really expand all the youth that we can reach,” LeMay explained.

More information about the program can be found here.