Mission Moment: Spring 2015 Job Skills Graduation

Job Skills

At the end of each Job Skills Training 12-week program, we have a special Graduation Day event for our participants. This spring’s Graduation Day event was special for a number of reasons.

First, the Spring 2015 cohort finished building a 16-foot motor boat designed to be used with our Youth Sailing program. This boat, named Wally, was built by three consecutive sessions of Job Skills Training; to see the boat finally finished and to be able to ride around the lake in it was very powerful. The many hours of hard work manifested themselves in a sense of ownership not often felt in everyday life. This is particularly important for young people who may not feel they have agency over many aspects of their home or school lives.

This day was also special for me for an unexpected reason. The Graduation Day event happened to fall on the same day as Seattle’s Maritime Week Festival in the adjoining park to the Center for Wooden Boats. Vessels from around Seattle docked along the park in Lake Union and were open to visitors. One such boat that visited was the Sea Scout Ship Propeller. The Sea Scouts are a faction of Boy Scouts of America, where young people can join and learn leadership development with a maritime focus. John, a participant in our Job Skills Training program, was also actively involved with Sea Scouts and the SSS Propeller.

As our Graduation Day event came to a close, we all shared cake and reflections on our time together at the Center for Wooden Boats. Taylor, our other AmeriCorps member, and I said goodbye to the group and congratulated each other on a job well done. As we were wrapping up and getting ready to go, John excitedly came over and asked if we would come along for a tour of the SSS Propeller at the park with the rest of the Job Skills participants. I was tired, sunburnt, and ready to go home but could tell how important this was to him to share a valuable part of his life with us. We agreed to join and headed over to the vessel.

John showed our Job Skills group every single aspect of the SSS Propeller and explained the features in great detail. He introduced Taylor and me to his fellow Sea Scouts, Scoutmasters, and even the cat lurking around the boat. This quick tour turned into over an hour, yet it was worth it to stay late to see the pride he had in being able to share this aspect of his life. These moments affirm my decision to continue working with young people and act as a positive role model for others. I am grateful for days like this one and hope to have more to come.

Find more information about our Job Skills Program here.

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