George Washington and his troops' annual Christmas Day trip across the Delaware River has been saved by boats made by children. Organizers had feared Monday's crossing would have to be canceled because low water levels in the river between Pennsylvania and New Jersey would have made it impossible for re-enactors to navigate their wooden Durham boats. But the AP reports that Philadelphia Waterborne, a nonprofit that teaches boat-building skills to middle- and high-school students, is lending the organizers six handmade, 12-foot rowboats for Monday's crossing.
The boats only draw about six inches of water, meaning they can get across the river under current conditions. And the kids get to see something tangible they built put to use, says their adviser Nicholas Pagon. "It gets them really engaged in the project when they realize this is real," he tells WHYY. The crossing is the highlight of the annual event that draws thousands of people to the banks of the river in Washington Crossing, Pa., and Titusville, NJ—this year with students' work front and center. "This is just the icing on the cake," says Pagon. "To see it saving George Washington’s crossing, I think, is fantastic."