Nonprofits

Tidewater Wooden Boat Workshop

December 05, 2019

The Tidewater Wooden Boat Workshop uses boat building to transform middle school and high school students into self-confident, successful students with new skills to last them a lifetime.

Tom Brandl
Tom Brandl, Founder of Tidewater Wooden Boat Workshop

When Tom Brandl, a retired Marine officer and wooden boat builder, realized Hampton Roads did not have a program that taught middle- and high-school students to build boats he started Tidewater Wooden Boat Workshop. He knew students would put math skills to use while learning to use tools, teamwork, problem-solving, self-confidence, critical thinking, patience and responsibility.

While Tom had a great idea. He needed to learn how to start and run an effective nonprofit. Taking multiple courses at the Academy for Nonprofit Excellence gave him the skills he needed to write a plan, assemble a board and launch the nonprofit workshop in 2014. The academy also connected him with other professionals whose organizations became workshop partners. Today students from lower-income families participate in the 11-week after-school and weekend program that teaches them to build and row boats. A grant from the Hampton Roads Community Foundation's Community Leadership Partners helped get the program going.

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