This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the Boat Building Program at Forman! The Olson Outdoor Education Center was dedicated in 2006 in the memory of Matt Olson ’93. It was opened to serve Forman Boatworks as well as all of the School’s outdoor pursuits. To celebrate the occasion, Wendy Welshans, Director of Outdoor Leadership, brought her students to Bantam Lake for a flotilla on Wednesday, September 21. Eight Forman-made boats were launched onto the water and the students rowed heartily and enjoyed pizza afterwards.
“Boat Building has definitely impacted my life. I have always loved the water and I love learning a new skill," Logan Faucett ’17 said. Allison Eakman ’17 added, “It's just a cool experience to be able to build your own boat. You look at a boat normally and don't think about how it's made; it's this mysterious, magical process but we learn how to do it.”
Welshans spoke to the group to commemorate the day: “Because of you, the program keeps growing. This year, we’re going to design our first sailboat. It’s going to be 12-feet long, but the design is going to be up to you guys. The sky's the limit.” Students will use state-of-the-art equipment from the Olson Center and the adjacent Ingenuity Lab to build the new boat starting in November.
In the 10 years since it opened, over 30 boats have been built at Forman School, including Julie boats (small motorboats named after the School’s cofounder), kayaks, paddleboards, Perkins canoes (named after the former headmaster), and rowboats. All were finely crafted care by Forman School students and faculty in the Olson Center. The wood is primarily sourced from the Forman campus and then milled on-site. Restored woods are used for accents on many of the boats. The canoes and motorboats are steam-bent at the boat shop as well.
“I think we've done a lot in 10 years,” Welshans added. “And I think everyone out here is happy. That’s what matters.”View photos from the special day here.