‘planning for the day when we will come back together to teach the empowering lessons’

Apprenticeshop begins fundraising initiative for women’s scholarship

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 10:15am

Story Location:
The Apprenticeshop
Rockland  Maine
United States

ROCKLAND — During the disruption presented by the COVID-19 crisis, we have the opportunity to take stock of what is most important and what kind of people and organizations we want to be when we emerge. This challenging moment is one that will shine a light on systemic inequity in our society and it happens to dovetail with Women’s History Month. There remains much work to be done in achieving gender equity across our society and the Apprenticeshop looks forward to doing our part. While programming has been postponed, we are still planning for the day when we will come back together to teach the empowering lessons inherent in using one’s hands to build or sail a boat. 

In Women’s History Month 2020, the Apprenticeshop announces the establishment of a scholarship for women, and those who identify as women, to participate in our 12-week, 9-month and 2-year boatbuilding programs. The women’s scholarship is part of a new long-term initiative at the Apprenticeshop to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion across the organization, from our student and apprentice population to our staff and board membership. The Apprenticeshop already has women in positions of leadership, both on staff and on the board, several of whom are alumnae of the boatbuilding program. 

This scholarship encourages female participation within a space and skill set that has traditionally been the domain of males, inviting women to strive for their full potential in this challenging and rewarding context. The Apprenticeshop intends to ensure there will always be women apprentices within each boatbuilding cohort. They can then serve as role models for other women and girls who are drawn to work with their hands.

Phoebe Kuo, who completed the 12-week intensive in 2013 said, "The Apprenticeshop was pivotal in my development as a maker. Building my own boat from start to finish gave me the confidence and the skills to finally pursue woodworking seriously, after years of having an office job and building furniture on the weekends.” Her sentiments are echoed in what Emma Hathaway, another 12-week apprentice, recently said in an interview about her experience at the ‘Shop, “Self-doubt is a thing I struggle with. It is something I hadn’t anticipated being able to overcome as much. When other people don’t doubt you, it’s harder to doubt yourself. I didn’t expect to gain that confidence."

Our strategy to build a scholarship for women is taking place on two fronts. First, The Mary Lacy Project is an opportunity to support our women’s scholarship fund by entering a raffle to win a flat-bottomed rowboat called a Susan Skiff. Mary Lacy was recently completed by Emma Hathaway, our Director of Waterfront and Seamanship, during her stint as a 12-week apprentice. 

Emma already had a long resume of sailing and leadership experience when she started the Intensive program but had never built a boat before. Over the winter of 2019/2020, Emma rectified that. She named her skiff Mary Lacy to bring awareness to an historic female figure who spent the majority of her life under the guise of a man in order to work as a boatbuilder and mariner. Raffle tickets for the Mary Lacy are available now at $20 each and the lucky winner will be drawn in the summer or of 2020. This traditionally built wooden skiff retails for $2,000 with a pair of oars.

Second, 20 for 20k in 2020, is a collaborative effort among at least 20 women passionate about empowering other women, who are willing to contribute at least $1,000 each toward a minimum $20,000 base for our women’s scholarship fund. A seed fund of $20,000 will enable three scholarships to be awarded in 2020 — one woman in each of our three boatbuilding programs: the 12-week, 9-month, and 2-year — to be used when our programs are fully back up and running. Supporters will be directly connected to the scholarship recipients through project updates, as well as invitations to visit construction on the shop floor and launches. 

To support these efforts, please contribute to our women’s scholarship fund or spread the word to women who might be interested in our programs. For more information, visit our website at www.apprenticeshop.org.