2018, 2019, 2020, 2021


Chicago, IL

Chicago Maritime Arts Center

Chicago Boat Building Program

Chicago Maritime Arts Center (CMAC) is the first to offer a youth boat building program in the City of Chicago. Its after-school, in-school, and summer camp programs connect local students to the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. CMAC is more than the splash of water, kids, and boats, it is a youth development program designed to create new opportunities and experiences. It teaches life skills such as safety, and basic tool use, as well as STEAM, teamwork, and a sense of accomplishment through exploring ecology and the maritime arts.

CMAC aims to help kids develop new skills and find new pathways for the future by establishing partnerships with other local nonprofits to engage students that likely have no means to access or experience the Chicago River or Lake Michigan.

  • Partner with 11th Hour Racing Ambassador Dave Rearick.
  • Expand programming of youth boat building and STEM education programs serving diverse students from under-resourced neighborhoods.
  • Increase the number of boat building classes from three in 2019 to five in 2020, reaching students ages 11 through 16 in after-school and summer experiential education.
  • Engage over 150 students on STEM, boat building, socio-emotional learning, and on-water activities.
  • Increase and formalize partnerships with community-based organizations, including Lost Boyz and The Chicago Park District’s Eleanor Boat House, to amplify outreach, recruitment, and students’ education outcomes.
  • Students will build small boats and learn boating skills to support and develop Chicago’s youth and families, emphasizing responsible use of waterways.  
  • Expand the organization’s programming and instructor base to develop additional programming and broaden its reach into Chicago communities.
  • Encourage a diverse range of 85-100 students to experience hands-on learning, develop a connection with the water, life-skills, and environmental responsibility through after-school programs and summer camps in partnership with schools and other civic organizations.
  • Partner with 11th Hour Racing Ambassador Dave Rearick.
  • Support Boat Building Programs in 2018 & 2019, reaching 40-60 youths, targeting 11-14-year-olds with an emphasis on diversity (gender, ethnic, socioeconomic, geographic, etc.) of participants and under-resourced neighborhoods across Chicago.
  • Build participant’s skills in carpentry, teamwork, communication, and problem-solving to instill confidence, understanding, and self-reliance. Programming will also include lessons on local ecology and water resources encouraging personal responsibility, respect, and conservation in their daily lives.

About Chicago Maritime Arts Center

The Chicago Maritime Arts Center (CMAC) is a 501(c)(3), established in 2017 with a mission to bring people back to the Lake and River that created Chicago, to teach marine ecology and the maritime arts, and to help kids find themselves and new pathways by learning to build boats. CMAC is a member of the Teaching With Small Boats Alliance (TWSBA), a more than 25-year movement promoting youth and adult maritime instruction, nationally and internationally.

Header image credit: Chicago Maritime Arts Center

Related News

Related Projects