It’s Festival Time – A Reunion for our Community

Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival

Festival Fun from the past – photo by Sarah Howell

What is community but a proxy for family? Philosophers tell us we have the family we’re born into and the family we make. It is in the latter that we find community, and for many of us the CWB community is our surrogate family.

The Center for Wooden Boats is a dynamic community and a huge family, and each year our family holds a reunion called the Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival. The annual celebration begins this coming Saturday, July 1st. As with all family reunions, it’s a chance to catch up, meet the newest members, grieve the ones we’ve lost, revel in a fun setting, reminisce about the past, and toast to the future.

The word community comes from the Latin communitas, meaning both “public spirit” and “shared in common”. Our community at CWB is a rich cross section of individuals from all walks of public and private life, all ages, all economic strata, all races. But our common bond isn’t just gleaming boats and the wood from which they’re crafted. Our common denominator begins, as human beings, with the water: water was everyone’s first home before they were born.

So it’s not just these tangible things that bring us together; we members of the CWB community also share a sense of place. Our genetic memory brings all of us to the water’s edge with a longing to access something essential about ourselves. For the CWB community that touchstone at water’s edge is our growing campus on the south shore of Lake Union, a place where essential truths about our selves and our collective potential finds serendipitous ways of enriching all our lives.

There are a number of people on our staff who are new to our CWB community, and one who has, like a prodigal daughter, returned to the fold after many years away. These are faces you’ll see a lot during Festival this year, and even if you’ve already met, we want you to know a little more about them before the big party.

Liz Hill
Liz Hill is our new Development Associate. She comes to us having spent seven passionate years helping non-profit organizations big and small with their development work. When asked what she loves most about this place, she says, “I love that CWB provides access to boats on the water in one of the most booming neighborhoods in Seattle!” She adds, “It’s such a gem in the midst of massive urban development.” Her primary goal in her work here is to strengthen our membership programs, and to improve our processes for membership & donations behind the scenes.

Barrie Moss
Barrie Moss, our Events Coordinator, actually celebrates her first anniversary with CWB during Festival this year, having joined us just two weeks prior to last year’s big event and pulling off what has to be called a miracle – implementing Festival after just two weeks on the job. When asked to pin down a synopsis of her professional history, she smiles and replies, “Culture maven, horticultural entrepreneur, planning professional and lover of Mother Ocean.” She says she loves the community (there’s that word again!), the camaraderie, the access and adventure to be found at CWB, and states that her number one goal here (aside from working miracles) is “to be invited out on a sailboat ride.”

Brandt Faatz
Brandt Faatz, our Executive Director, originally served on our Board. Now as Captain of the CWB ship, he brings a deep passion for CWB as well as the world of boats to his role in our community. He’s a seasoned Executive with 30 years in IT Services, and loves belonging “to an active, highly engaged community of people who love boats and the ways that boats enrich lives.” His principal aim as Executive Director is to cultivate a strong CWB community of diverse people, who come together to share their love of wooden boats and the experiences those boats enable.

And the prodigal daughter? That would be me, Rebecca Wittman. I’m honored to say that I am the new CWB Communications and Outreach Coordinator. Some people might recall that I wrote a couple of books about Brightwork and used to teach varnishing classes here at CWB. I even served for a time on the Board. After years of plying other creative trades (real estate, clothing design, marketing and communications for many non-profits on Vashon Island) I’m thrilled to be spending my days in this magnificent place. Festival for me this year is a homecoming as much as a reunion.

How fitting that my nametag at this Festival says “Communications”… the root of which comes from another Latin word that translates to community and sharing and “the making of something common.” What I aim to make in common here at CWB is a rich tapestry of our community’s love for this place.

Have a wonderful Festival, and to all our CWB family I simply say, “Welcome Home.”

Rebecca Wittman

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