Bay Senior Center Woodshop volunteers help build sailboats

Students sail their homemade boats at the WHISTLE regatta.

Volunteers from the Bay Village Senior Center Woodshop have spent the last two weeks helping inner-city students build sailboats. They volunteer for the WHISTLE program which stands for Whiskey Island to Lake Erie. This six-year-old program was developed by Dan Moore and other sailors at Wendy Park (part of Whiskey Island). The goal is to get inner-city students involved in sailing in boats that they build. The program is directed by Mirek Posedel, who contacted the woodshop volunteers asking for their help last year.

On July 26, twelve students from E Prep charter school in Cleveland arrived at the program. During the next two weeks, they learned how to follow patterns, cut wood, sand, paint and assemble a sailboat from scratch. They were helped by the Bay volunteers who worked side by side with them and also made some of the more difficult cuts on a power saw.

The students watched as day by day the parts fitted together to make sailboats. Some times students would take a break from boat building to learn sailing in boats made in prior years. While they were sailing the volunteers fixed leaks or broken parts on older sailboats.

The Bay Senior Center Woodshop is located in the former police garage at City Hall. The volunteers have made storm windows for the Bay Historical Society, donation boxes for the Community Band and Historical Society, quilt stands for a local quilting group, and now sailboats. Brian Clark, Dave Holian, Steve Smik, Terry Lucas, and John Keleciny have each donated about 60 hours to the WHISTLE program.

"The kids came with little woodworking experience and soon learned to use a power jigsaw, sander, and other tools," said John Keleciny. "By the end of the program they will be sailing in a boat they helped build." 

The volunteers said their woodshop, which has been active for at least 20 years, would not exist without the help of the mayor, city council and many seniors who supported their shop.

On August 6, the twelve students each sailed a boat like the ones they helped build past a group of sponsors, volunteers, and the Bay Senior Center Workshop volunteers who helped make this possible. 

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Volume 2, Issue 16, Posted 7:01 PM, 08.10.2010