Each year, SICBA, the local building association, sponsors a Charity Playhouse Challenge in which playhouses are built to support various charities. Up to 6 teams will come together, select charity recipients, design and build unique playhouses, and raffle them off to raise money. The playhouses are amazing, worth up to $10,000 each, the bulk of which often comes in donated labor and materials.
2011 was Quantum’s second year in the competition. The first year the Quantum team built a fire station, complete with fire pole, working lights and a water hose. It benefited two local American Red Cross Chapters. This year, Quantum elected to work with Sea Venture Scouts Crew 4081, a local chapter of the Boy Scouts that focuses on sailing, seamanship and rowing as a means to build individual and team skills. The playhouse was a fitting accompaniment to the crew: a pirate ship.
Crew ’81 was a true partner in the building process. The Quantum design was refined and perfected by Emerald Marine’s James McMullen. Crew ’81 scouts and instructors met regularly onsite to practice wooden boat building techniques such as bending and shaping wood, rigging, and building a mast. When finished, the general consensus was that the vessel would likely be seaworthy if the playhouse base were replaced with a real bottom and ballast.
When finished, the playhouse journeyed to the Skagit County Fairgrounds for the SICBA Home and Garden Show, where it was surrounded with a fitting landscape by Hillman’s Tranquil Hardscapes. The landscaping, by the way, won best in show. When Ciscoe Morris drew the winning raffle ticket, the pirate ship was won by a gentleman from Anacortes (who only purchased one ticket. That’s all it takes!). The playhouse would spend the summer at his house, then accompany his grandchildren on a voyage down to their Seattle home. The proceeds from the raffle enabled Crew ’81 to host the 2012 Pacific Challenge, a seamanship competition that brings together other Sea Scouts from all over the Pacific Northwest.