Retired Marine Tom Brandl stood on the shore of the Elizabeth River rallying his troops.
"You don't have to worry," he said to the adolescents clad in flip-flops and life vests that were growing sticky in the late summer heat.
A few looked doubtful. They'd spent the summer learning about power drills, Japanese saws and chisels - tools that helped them create the two polished skiffs before them.
"You've done a great job in building these," Brandl said.
Most of the kids had never held a nail before June.