Wave of the Future

Published on September 17, 2015
The flotilla will set out from Valentino Pier on Sunday, making its way into the choppy waters of New York Harbor.

It’s the Red Hook Regatta, and it’s not your average regatta (if there is such a thing).

For one, all of the boats are 3-D printed, radio-controlled and have to fit in a 2x2x2-foot box.

And for an extra challenge: The boats must transport as much cargo — little boxes made to look like shipping containers — as possible in the time allowed.

Pioneer Works, an arts center in Red Hook, and Red Hook Initiative’s Digital Stewards, a branch of the nonprofit that helps get young people ready for a digital work environment, collaborated to create the event.

David Sheinkopf, co-director of education and a tech integrator at Pioneer Works, spoke about how the regatta came to be.

“It brought up a lot of interesting ways to use this technology to teach nontech things,” he said.The goal was to explore Red Hook’s history and the important role that shipping played, he said, and then translate it into a 21st-century technological language.

Seven teams will be participating — five from Digital Stewards, one jewelry designer and his daughters, and one team of engineers from Oxo, the kitchen and office supplies manufacturer.

“Those guys are way over-engineering it,” Mr. Sheinkopf said of the Oxo team. “I think we’re going to” beat them, he said, in saltier language.

The Red Hook Regatta launches on Sunday at 4 p.m., at the Valentino Pier in Red Hook.

How RHI Youth Spent Summer Vacation



For RHI middle school participants, the summer was anything but quiet. 35 middle school youth spent their summer vacation immersed in programs here in Red Hook as well as throughout New York City. Made possible by funding from School’s Out New York City through the NYC Department of Youth & Community Development, days at RHI were spent rotating between dance instruction, steel drumming workshops, technology programs, and more. Trips to local sites included Coney Island, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and Rye Playland; the range of programs and day trips kept youth excited and looking forward to every day.

A steel drum workshop became a fast favorite among Red Hook youth this summer.

A steel drum workshop became a fast favorite among Red Hook youth this summer.

Malcolm West, Middle School Group Leader and former RHI participant, observed that youth “displayed leadership skills and discovered new talents for the first time” during summer program, recalling an activity in Prospect Park where the only way to reach the finish line was by working together.

Josie, who will be in 8th grade this fall, reflected on her summer: “My favorite program was learning how to make a commercial for a popular video game.” Through working with her peers on the team-building project, Josie says she not only learned but made new friends in the process. Meanwhile, RHI continued to engage other community members this summer, with 24 young adults enrolled in Professional Development, 50 Local Leaders in training, and 60 high school students hired for paid positions. This summer has set the stage for a productive beginning to the new school year.

College Institute: Red Hook Youth Beat the Odds


This summer, RHI Youth Leaders are busy gearing up for the next chapter in their lives: college. A group of twelve youth came together to participate in RHI’s College Institute, an intensive two-week series of workshops that prepares rising freshmen for the exciting and challenging aspects of college life. Youth participants will head to a wide range of colleges this fall including Buffalo State, Daemen College, Brooklyn College, SUNY Albany, Mohawk Community Valley College, and LaGuardia Community CollegeWhile some will stay local here in New York City and some will head to other cities and states, each student will face new academic and social experiences. Noemi, an RHI participant since middle school, will attend the University of Albany in the fall to study cyber forensics. Through College Institute, she has learned how important time management can be in college“In order to be successful in college, I need to plan out my days and make time for studying outside of class,” says Noemi, adding that she is looking forward to the independence of college life.

The College Institute workshops focus on how to tackle common issues that may arise in the first year of college, such as deciding which classes to take, making new friends and connections on campus, and fitting in to the school’s culture. As in all RHI programs, participants learn the importance of problem solving, persistence, and using the resources that are available to them.

By the end of RHI’s College Institute, youth will feel more prepared to take on their next phase. The program will finish with a commitment to stay closely in touch with RHI staff throughout the year. In a neighborhood where less than 50% of residents have a high school diploma, we are proud of RHI youth for defying this statistic.