December 19, 2018
“You don’t just come here to a school, you come to a community,” said Bob Smith, a long-time volunteer and local ambassador for GLBBS. “The school is important to the Les Cheneaux Islands not only because of the long tradition of antique and wooden boats and the need for good craftsmen, but also because it brings people here from all over to our wonderful community. I want to make the students and their families feel welcome here.”
Bob is an anchor in the community, for 25 years he and his wife, Sharon, were chairpersons of the Antique and Wooden Boat Show. Since GLBBS opened a decade ago, Bob has rented cabins to students. But more than that, he gives them rides to the grocery store, takes them out to lunch, and sometimes just sits and listens when they need to talk.
“It isn’t just the school that teaches them; they learn from everyone who touches them, and we are all better for it,” he said. “Our community is blessed to have the school here. You don’t need to have a lot to give them something — make them a cake or take them out to dinner. They are always hungry! Give them a ride to the stores, take them to church, take them snowshoeing at Northwoods Camp, just do something; even just one thing.”
Bob credits the annual Beer Fest & Boat Yard Bash as another way to give something to the school especially if one has a talent. “Make something for the auction, come down and tour the school and meet the students,” he said. “There’s no doubt in my mind this school has a long future here. The accreditation process was the key to helping make this school number 1. Helping out the school is helping out the community. You don’t need to give a lot; just bring what you have and we’ll make it work.”
From the beginning of Great Lakes Boat Building School, volunteers have provided the backbone of our organization – from fundraising to administrative tasks, and leadership to simply spreading the word about our mission – we would’t be where we are today without the care and concern shown by our GREAT volunteers. For more information about how you can volunteer at Great Lakes Boat Building School click here.