Woodwright Experience - Frequently Asked Questions

Cliff Notes

  • $145 per student.

  • Students will build up to 3 projects (take home) and have the opportunity to assist in building the wooden kayak.

  • The activities are structured around the BSA Merit Badge program - but they are not limited to Scouting members and Scouts do not need/want to complete any of the merit badges to participate.

    • Tier 1 starts October 15th (registration is open) and includes 5 different schedules to choose from.

    • Tier 2 starts January 7th (registration begins September 10th) and includes 5 different schedules to choose from.

    • Tier 3 starts March 25th (registration begins November 26th) and includes 5 different schedules to choose from.

  • Students can participate in more than one Tier - since each Tier will have new projects.

  • Each Tier may have their own kayak project (depending on participation)

  • Kayak may be auctioned in order to generate funds to put back into the program.  Each participant gets a $200 credit towards that auction.

  • Students need to bring minimal equipment for personal use (which can be rented/purchased when registering).

Will there be a chance to work on extra projects?

Yes. Throughout the season - we will announce extra dates/times where students can register for a specific project class.

There will also be chances for students to learn about projects - that they will then have the opportunity to teach younger children (ages 6 - 10.

Can my student build their own kayak?

Yes and no. Your student (and/or family) can purchase a kayak ($1500.00 - $1800.00) and the students will build it in class. Once the Tier is complete - you get to take home the kayak.

Can I purchase a kayak before it’s built?

You can sponsor a purchase ($1500.00 - $1800.00) and the students will build it in class. Once the Tier is complete - you get to take home the kayak. Please expect that your kayak may take 8 - 10 weeks to complete. We want to make sure it’s beautiful before you pick it up.

Additional Opportunities

Service Hours

Two hours of service hours are estimated for all students.  However, this may fluctuate depending on time and need.

Extra Time To Work on Projects

We may be able to offer a few 'freeform' sessions where students can come in and work on their projects independently.  This would be a great time to bring in mom and dad and show them what you are working on.

DIY Chess Pieces: (+$25) [Appearing in Tier 2]

Your child can also make chess pieces from nuts, bolts, anchors and more.  We recommend using the ‘optional’ days to focus on these pieces because they do involve solvents, super glue and paint.  Also comes with a plastic carrying case to transport your pieces. 


Students will earn service hour credit as well as a $200 credit towards the auction of the boat they helped build.  If they helped build the 'demo' boat, that credit will apply to the next possible auction.

Want to work on a Specific Merit Badge without the commitment?

Connect with John Hodnefield (maker@boardwalkdiy.us).  I will do everything I can to make it happen.  Most of these type of meetings (I will need more than 1 Scout to attend) - costs $20 each Scout.


What is a class like?

It’s personal.

This is not your average merit badge session.  We are fully invested and passionate about each subject we lead.  I will never lead a merit badge session in a subject that I am not interested in.  

Most classes will be 2 hrs in length.  

We do not read the merit badge book – line by line or bullet by bullet.  I do not expect the students to sit and listen to me talk for the entire session(s).  We restructure the sessions to try and engage the students by taking what they feel is interesting AND then working all of the requirements into those interests.

For example: The Inventing Merit Badge is one of my favorites. The Scouts come in and are really excited to show off their invention to the group. However, the outline structure in the book has the Scouts sharing their inventions at the end of the session. I’ve seen instructors sitting at a desk, reading from page 1 to page N and the boys all look bored.

I want to keep the excitement going. We start the boys at the inventions. It’s almost like a mini science fair. As they share their invention with the group – we tie in all of the other requirements (influential inventors, patent process, improvements, etc) By the time everyone has shared their invention – we are done with the merit badge.

I prefer to lead sessions where there is less lecture and a lot more collaboration.

  • Yes, we do fulfill the merit badge requirements (per BSA guidelines).

    • This applies to the requirements we cover in our sessions. Some requirements are still the responsibility of the Scout to finish outside of the class.

  • We do not take shortcuts. In most cases – the Scouts will experience a lot more in these sessions than they are required to.

  • I DO NOT pass any Scout based on their attendance (they need to participate).

  • I require a ‘Do Your Best’ attitude. Don’t join these sessions thinking that these are easy classes and you just need to float through the day.

  • I hate homework – but yes, there will be homework. If it says to write or document – then you write or document. ‘Explain’ means that we are going to discuss as a group and I will reinforce the learnings throughout the program.

    • There are no pre-requisites or workbook requirements needed before the start of the first session.

  • There is room for 5 – 6 adult volunteers in each session. Adults are more than welcome to join us – especially if your Scout needs extra 1x1 guidance – and/or if you want to help provide 2-Deep leadership – and/or, you want to make some of the projects yourself.


What if my student has camp or other commitments during these sessions?

I really want to make this work - for everyone.  Please let me know and we can try to arrange a 'make up' session.

Can my student bring a friend?

[friend registration will be available before October 1st, 2018]

Yes. These activities are open to boys and girls ages 12-18*. If the friend will participate in all 6 sessions - please register that friend as normal. If the friend wants to join only one class (or less than 6) - please register as a friend (please remember to pick the date/time).

Please remember that we do not plan to cover an entire merit badge in one meeting - so we recommend that you bring a friend who is NOT expecting to complete a merit badge.

What happens to the large group project after it is complete?

The first Kayak (or any new large group project design) may be kept as a ‘demo’ for future classes.  This also takes into account that the very first design may have mistakes and issues that more experience will eliminate.

The ‘demo’ will also be used to secure funding and sponsors – in the hopes that we can keep the costs low and continue the project into the future.


The remainder of the boats will be auctioned off in order to pay for the space and materials for the next group of students.   

Sponsor or Buyer

There may be an occasion where a sponsoring organization or an individual buyer may pay for the project ahead of time.  This will be announced before the project begins.  The $200 credit then can be used on a future auction.

What if you don’t finish the kayak?

This is a very real possibility. Sometimes the personality of the group, the environment, weather, etc - interferes with the completion of a project as large as this. This should be a no stress activity. If we don’t finish it - we may schedule time to for students to finish - or we may keep the kayak and allow a new group to continue working on it.