Ellery Kempe-Chalmers reading from a piece that she wrote about her experience building the Susan skiff during a launch ceremony in December 2020. Her boat (the light green one, center) will be raffled off this year to raise funds for the next round of Mary Lacy scholarship recipients. Kempe-Chalmers was so pleased with her experience in the 12-week program that she has decided to continue on as a nine-month apprentice. Erin Tokarz

In honor of Women’s History month 2020, the Apprenticeshop has announced the establishment of the Mary Lacy Scholarship, for women and those who identify as women, to encourage female participation in its 12-week, nine-month and two-year boatbuilding programs. The scholarship fund is part of a long-term goal to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion across The Apprenticeshop. Through the success of this scholarship effort, three young women from the Midcoast area, Chloe Carr, Tabitha Gish and Ellery Kempe-Chalmers, were able to enroll as boatbuilding apprentices in the fall of 2020, according to a news release from the Apprenticeshop at 655 Main St. in Rockland.

Tabitha Gish rowing the boat she built with nine-month apprentice Tyler Kellen on launch day in December 2020. They worked so rapidly that they had time to build oars and a sailing rig for their Susan skiff. Erin Tokarz

In December 2020, they launched their first boats. When asked about how that first project impacted them, Kempe-Chalmers talked about how, “in 12 weeks, I learned more about woodworking, boats, and myself than I thought was possible while being that busy. Every day that I learn a new technique, skill, or method, I gain more freedom to go after the things I want in other areas of my life.” Gish remarked that, “the best part of my apprenticeship so far is that building a boat has given me more confidence in my ability to learn new skills and make things with my hands.” And Carr said, “The atmosphere here at the ‘Shop is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. I truly believe being here and getting to know the wonderful people is making me into a better person.”

Tabitha Gish fitting the boradstrakes on her Susan skiff in progress. Erin Tokarz

This month, The Apprenticeshop is kicking off its scholarship fundraising effort for 2021 with the second annual Mary Lacy Scholarship Raffle. The boat that Kempe-Chalmers built, a 12-foot flat-bottomed rowboat called a Susan skiff, will be raffled off to generate funds for the next group of scholarship participants. From now until June 1, raffle tickets will be available on The Apprenticeshop’s website and the winning ticket will be drawn on June 4. An additional opportunity to support the Mary Lacy Scholarship effort is available through the 21 for $21k in 2021 initiative. To purchase a raffle ticket, find out more, or spread the word to women who might be interested in its programs, visit apprenticeshop.org.

Ellery Kempe-Chalmers fastening in her garboard plank. Erin Tokarz

Chloe Carr working on planing down the oak boards she glued up for her transom. Erin Tokarz