This past weekend I found myself digging out of a huge snow. About half way through the deal it dawned on me. WAIT ONE DARN SECOND. I have two boys in the house…SLEEPING! Athletes to boot. One age 17, 6 foot 3 and a lacrosse player, the other 19 home from collage! What in the hell am I doing out here brewing up a good old fashion heart attack! And they are in there sleeping cause they were up all night doing god only knows what… Oh I know what they were doing…., but I keep that tucked away for an excuse for going on a boat buying binge with the “nest egg” one day…It was those darn kids…It also dawned on me that when I was that age, I did the same thing. And all the small things that led me to were I am today. The seeds planted in my youth have indeed grown. I looked over to my unfinished sanding job on my Chris Craft, and a wave of great memories came back. It was the winter of 1973 and my dad had found a NOS Sunfish kit boat. One of the original ones. I was also given a small model version that year for Christmas. We built in the basement and still have it right here in my office. The dream of cool wood boats started right there. We then moved on to build the real Sunfish Kit boat and enjoyed that boat for a while until my father sold it off… To be honest I would pay $100,000 bucks for that boat now. It has my name in the hull, as well as the guys that helped. Now here I am, almost 40 years later, fully involved in the passion of Antique & Classic Boats. Seed planted and ready to go! My kids think I am nuts…my wife thinks I am nuts… But I know… I know that every summer for the past 5 years my boys have smelled varnish and enjoyed the heck out of some cool vintage boats. Including this one of twin 12 foot Whirlwinds. NO JET SKI’s in this house..Including an all wood sunfish found on eBay that we restored a couple years back together. So why am I going on and on here. Because I have to give a big shout out to the ACBS and Jim Shotwell Chairman of The ACBS Youth Development Committee. He has done a fantastic job in planting seeds into any kid who has even shown an interest in boating. Jim has been working on this for years. If you have been to any ACBS show over the past 7 years, you have seen Jim and his kit boats. It started I am sure as a way to get kit boats out to the masses. But you could tell that very early on, Jim was enjoying the teaching kids more and more. Boy scout troops at a boat show? There is always a mess of kids with screwdrivers in there hands and floating small wood boats in a pool at the shows. Below is an image of the “Boats For Kids” Program were the kids can make a boat and take it home. Free… just like in the banner in the background..The program is now really taking off. There are awards and some very cool boats coming out of the deal. Junior Craftsman Winner Parker Selin with his award with Capt. Jim Shotwell, Chief Judge at the Chesapeake bay Chapter’s Show and his cool boatAnother brilliant insight is this simple fact. 8-18 year olds all need someone to take them to the events… As in 30-45 year old parents…. This is the magic age when all the seeds start growing. It’s not a leap to have a 45 year old Mom and Dad at a show and seeing how much fun this all is… That maybe a classic boat is more fun than a new one. That sometimes the journey is more than
the destination. That’s what its all about. Next thing ya know they are on Google, searching for classic boats, and they find Woody Boater, and the ACBS, and then we’ve got them… Another 40 year old looking for a fun classic boat. And so what looks like a simple task of good deedism…Is actually a very well thought out plan to help folks of my age find a place to harvest those seeds that are now taking over our small brains. So in a way, it all starts with a simple gift to your child or grand child.. hint hint….. A model perhaps…Funny thing you should ask!In development for the 2010 season is a Model Boat Building Program sponsored by Hagerty Marine Insurance. The first model available will be a Chris Craft Zephyr Kit Boat Model.

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4 Responses to “Kids These Days! Thanks To The ACBS, I Still Love Mine!”
  1. Anonymous

    Mark,
    Good heart felt story. But you never answered the questions about your sons. Did you go running in their rooms banging pots and pans and wake them up?

    Merry Christmas to you and your family,
    Lucky

  2. Anonymous

    John Rothert checking in: Matt: great story about kids in the hobby….we are ALL kids in the hobby, remember?
    Hey, you can't SPELL college, but you get to pay for it, right?
    Merry Christmas to you, your long suffering wife and your long sleeping kids! Thanks for the joy you bring to your legion of readers every morning. I don't see how you do it, but keep it going..for all us kids.
    14" of snow here in downtown Powhatan Va., Mt. Dora here I come!!!
    John

  3. WoodyBoater

    Oh! I went in for the kill, but was blocked by my wife…. But I got one of them later. I made him do the old lady next doors driveway.. With all his pals before they could go off and clown around… The other one got away and left while I was distracted.. I just keep saying its all payback for my behavior as a kid… Until I catch one of them.. HA..

  4. Al Benton

    Great story! This sure makes you think about what it takes to get kids interested in ventage boating. Our local ACBS Chapter should get involved in the wonderful programs that the ACBS and Hagerty are making available but its much easier said than done. I never see our fellow members kids, they don't talk about them, some brag about their grandkids (like me) but there must be some kids in the group. Where are they? Maybe it's time to ask, heck, there are lots of grandkids!

    Al