What We Do

TCBB’s focus on design and building of boats helps to develop a broad range of skills in an experiential environment of adventure and exploration. At TCBB youth learn pro-social and team-centered behaviors that increase empathy, altruism and optimism. They find here a place where they are safe, and where they belong.IMG_0493

We are a community within a community where advanced generations share knowledge, experience and wisdom with younger generations. The young boat builders also discover they have a lot to offer. The learning and sharing is not a one way path. Relationship building is a two way experience, both sides must make a contribution. In this way they learn that they have a place in our community and that they are valued.

TCBB offers a safe and engaging experience that can lead to expanded horizons, better decision-making, higher employability, positive participation in our community and reduced recidivism.

In Pierce County, scarce but successful programs demonstrate that with the right combination of structure, respect, encouragement and focus, troubled young people can find their path through hardships and difficulty. TCBB aims to be one of the leading programs that offer “a way through” for young, court involved males of Pierce County.

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Our TCBB Shop

Located in the heart of Tacoma right on the Thea Foss Waterway, we have 4200 square feet of space housing a fully equipped wood working and small boat building shop. We have ready access to the water and a number of fine vessels to sail and row.


The presence of one or more trusted, caring adults is the single most important factor in influencing the direction of a young life. At TCBB the mentoring relationship is the backbone of everything we do. For our highest risk youths, every student is paired, one-to-one, with a mentor who is also a skilled craftsman. Together these pairs create projects of mutual interest while also contributing to the greater goal of building the wooden boats. Of course, working shoulder to shoulder, more than boats get built; trust, active listening, self-awareness and respect for others develop, and so do inter-generational friendships. (See more about our mentors and volunteers.)

What Do Participating Youth Learn at TCBB?

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  • How to build a wooden boat

  • Relationship building and teamwork

  • Shop safety and skills

  • Responsibility

  • Self-discipline

  • Measuring, marking and layout

  • Strategic thinking

  • Creative problem solving

  • Craftsmanship and a sense of accomplishment

  • Self-confidence

  • Water safety

  • Small boat handling and maritime culture

  • The joy of navigating on the water in a vessel that they have helped to create

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