Champlain Longboats program for local teens receives support from M&T Bank

We are excited to announce today that M&T Bank will support the Champlain Longboats program at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum with a $10,000 gift in 2024.

Champlain Longboats is a boat building and rowing youth development program for local high school and middle school students. The two parts of the program are interconnected as students in the boat building program work together through fall and winter to build a traditional wooden boat, which is then added to the Museum’s fleet of open-water rowing gigs to be used by youth rowing teams from local school districts in the spring and fall. For 25 years, the Champlain Longboats program has served as a partner site for schools, providing non-traditional educational and fitness opportunities for local teens.

“M&T Bank is pleased to provide a $10,000 donation to Lake Champlain Maritime Museum for the Champlain Longboats program,” said Kathy Schirling, Vice President, Divisional Community Involvement Manager at M&T Bank. “We have a long history of supporting this innovative program as it fills a need for outside of school educational opportunities for high school students for whom a traditional classroom experience does not always work. This program has a history of success that we are pleased to support.”

In 2024, students from Middlebury High School and the Addison Consortium Program will be building a 25’ Whitehall-style rowing gig in the Museum’s boat shop. When they’re not building the boat, these boat building students will also get the opportunity to learn about blacksmithing, metal casting, fishing, watershed ecology, and archaeology at the Museum and on outings to local sites around Addison County. In addition, roughly 300 students from nine local high school and middle school teams will participate in the spring and fall youth open-water rowing seasons with weekly practices and several race events around the state and New England.

“Champlain Longboats gives teens the opportunity to experience success, whether it’s in the Boat Shop building a wooden boat, or rowing with their team on Lake Champlain,” said Lauren Ross, Director of Development at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. “Youth are supported to work as a team, and to connect with Lake Champlain in a unique and wonderful way. M&T Bank and other generous donors provide the funding needed every year to run the program.”

If you’re interested in this year’s boat building project, you can follow the 2024 boat building project and youth rowing season online and join public events to cheer students on – we will post regular updates here on the blog as well as on Facebook and Instagram.