On Chicago’s South Side, teens are building boats — and confidence

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CHICAGO — A special summer camp is teaching an old-world craft to information-age kids and teens on Chicago’s South Side.  

At the Chicago Maritime Arts Center, there’s a two-week “boat building school,” where about a dozen kids are working together to build rowboats – using power tools, saws, and sanders.  

“I never stop thinking about whether it’s going to float or not,” Jay Desrosiers, a lead teacher, said.  

It is one of the programs operated by Maritime Arts Center, a non-profit that teaches nautical skills, water safety, and ecology.  

The discipline of boat building also teaches the kids about teamwork, accuracy, and planning – and most of all self-confidence.  

“Seeing my creation in the water makes me excited, yeah, it makes me proud,” Camille Hughes, a camper, said.

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