Our Approach

Our Approach

Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory uses a longitudinal, resiliency-based approach that is grounded in the Reaching Teens curriculum developed by University of Pennsylvania’s adolescent medicine physician, Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg. The longitudinal approach allows participants to develop trusting connections with staff over time, enabling them to explore, take risks and learn from failure.

Experiences of risk-taking, recovery from failure and increasing competency lead to greater confidence and a sense of personal agency, both of which are essential to improved outcomes. Dr. Ginsburg’s approach – which is being implemented and tested by six, pre-selected Strength-Based Youth Organizations (SBYO) – is founded in the seven “C”s of Resiliency: Contribution; Competency; Confidence; Connections; Character; Coping; and Control.

Our students are given an authentic challenge and real work that is vigorous and energizing for body and mind alike. Through making an authentic contribution, students build competencies, and in turn, confidence. Via connections with staff members, students feel free to hypothesize, take risk, and are supported to recover from failure. As students gain trust in staff and themselves, they become open to constructive feedback. Using Motivational-Interviewing practices, our staff enable students to solve their own problems and make smart choices (cope). Through intentional staff practices, students establish teamwork, communication and empathy, learn to manage their emotions, develop individual agency and resilience, all while building their craft skills (character). Students establish locus of control (the belief that their actions affect outcomes) and self-efficacy (the belief that they can make those outcomes positive ones).