About Us


The Teaching With Small Boats Alliance (TWSBA) strengthens the sustainability and effectiveness of member organizations. Through networking and partnerships, TWSBA champions organizations that use maritime skills, arts, and trades as vehicles for individual growth and community development.

Core Values

TWSBA and its members are committed to:

  • Generous sharing of knowledge and expertise
  • Inclusion, Social Justice, centering disenfranchised voices
  • The radical potential and importance of experiential learning to change society and peoples’ lives for the better
  • The beauty and power of the maritime environment to lift people and communities to move them forward.
  • Borderless thinking; working locally while sharing work, ideas, and impact internationally.


Over the next five years, by harnessing TWSBA’s powerful commitment to knowledge sharing and professional collaboration, our member organizations will refine their purpose, practices, and best uses of resources for the greatest social and educational impact.

  • TWSBA will motivate its members to identify and creatively address community needs while developing organizational resourcefulness and sustainability.
  • TWSBA will elevate its member organizations by recognizing and encouraging both proven models and agile practices that emphasize hands-on learning and service to both mainstream and marginalized populations.
  • TWSBA will validate member organizations by promoting peer review, transparency, and quantitative and qualitative assessment. Further, TWSBA will unify and make visible the value, meaning, and potential of our member organizations and the maritime resources they steward.

Board of Directors

Chair Joe Youcha developed and runs Building To Teach, a train the trainer program for hands-on math instructors. Building To Teach reintroduces the building process as a context for math instruction and brings more effective resources to young people who need math skills. Started with funding from the Office of Naval Research, and national in scope, the program utilizes all of Joe’s experiences as a wooden boat builder and non-profit executive.
Secretary Lory Newmyer: I am the retired Executive Director of the Hull Lifesaving Museum (1992-2013), where I designed and ran the Maritime Apprentice Program, serving Boston’s most high-impact youthful offenders, and year-round open-water rowing programs in Boston Harbor. I’m now an artist (wracklinetextiles.org) and yoga therapist (lorynewmyeryoga.com) living in Hull, MA.
Treasurer David Helgerson was a founding Member of the TWSBA Steering Committee and helped plan TWSBA’s first six Conferences. He has 40 years of experience in ship design, founded David Helgerson & Associates, LLC in 2013, and recently retired. Boatbuilding and woodworking are among hobbies of interest that have drawn him to educational boatbuilding. He volunteered at and served on the Board of the Alexandria Seaport Foundation. David and Martha have four daughters and three grandchildren.
T. Brandl
Tom Brandl served 29 years as a U.S. Marine Corps officer. After retiring, he worked in the defense industry until 2014 when he founded Tidewater Wooden Boat Workshop where he is Executive Director. TWBW serves disadvantaged youth in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia through the building of wooden boats and other nautical activities. Tom has over 23 years of experience teaching and mentoring youth. His love of wooden boatbuilding started when he attended the WoodenBoat School in Brooklin, Maine in 2011. He has returned almost every summer since then to increase his boatbuilding knowledge. Tom’s board experience includes his community civic league and the Virginia Marine Trades Association.
Adam Green Headshot
Adam Green started the volunteer project that would become Rocking the Boat in 1995 during a semester off from Vassar College. Influenced by his experience teaching kids about the Hudson River aboard the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, he developed a program that used the process of building and using wooden boats as a way to educate and empower young people from underserved communities. He has received numerous awards and accolades for Rocking the Boat, including an Echoing Green Fellowship, a Union Square Award for grassroots organizing, a Manhattan Institute Social Entrepreneurship Award, and in 2014 was named one of 25 international CNN Heroes.
Jennifer (Jenn) Kuhn, boatbuilder and Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum's Shipyard Education Programs Manager has been running and expanding the Apprentice for a Day Shipyard programs for the past seven years. Recently adding managing the museum's newly accredited Shipwright apprenticeship program to her repertoire, the first of its kind in the state of Maryland. In her spare time, Jenn can be found making stained glass, working in her garden, rowing with the Eastern Shore Community Rowers, kayaking, biking, hiking, and mentoring with Talbot County mentors.
Graham McKay is the master boatbuilder and Executive Director at Lowell’s Boat Shop, a working museum located in Amesbury, MA. His role is to oversee the general operations of building high-end traditional boats for discerning customers to the centuries-old Lowell’s tradition and teaching students young and old the boatbuilding tradition of the shop. He also acts as the curator of the museum. Previously, Graham spent time as a schooner captain, commercial diver, commercial fisherman, and fisheries scientist. He also sits on the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources and is a member of the Mystic Seaport Museum’s watercraft committee.
Bills Portrait 1808314509f
William “Bill” Nimke is executive director/founder of All Hands Boatworks, Inc. (est. 2013). For more than 30 years, he has championed project-based, experiential education and mentoring for Milwaukee-area youths. Before AHB, Bill founded and directed a public charter high school. Bill was a founding member of Pier Wisconsin, which built the S/V schooner, Denis Sullivan. He was its first education director for eight years, where he developed the education programming for thousands of K-12 students and the public. He is a past recipient of the Distinguished Informal Science Educator of the Year award from the National Science Teachers Association.
Inka Petersen is a wooden boatbuilder, educator, and sailor with many years of experience in commercial boatyards and non-profits alike. Formerly based in the SF Bay Area, she now is the youthwork liaison at the Arbeitskreis für historischen Schiffbau in Ostfriesland e.V. in Emden, Germany. When not on or under a boat or teaching, Inka enjoys carving spoons, making art, gardening, creating community, and hanging out with her dog Lola who is also the boatyard and youth group supervisor.
Jim Taylor is a retired school administrator living in Peekskill, New York. Upon retirement in 2003, he volunteered as a historic interpreter portraying a slave who was a skilled cooper. He also shared his woodworking skills by using antique tools at a Rocking the Boat program, building a period pirogue on site. Intrigued by the kid’s enthusiasm and abilities he decided the start a similar program in his community and was granted a workspace and funding for a summer program in 2009. Since then he and his students have built over twenty wooden boats ranging from 8-22ft long. Jim also volunteers for a homeless project, a youth police academy, and the city Youth Bureau. A friend once told him that he failed retirement by being so busy.