New to our training staff is carpenter and sailor Sear Helias. Photo: Tolina Tomeing

Sear Helias – Trainer

“WAM is a good place to work because we do a lot of sailing. Plus WAM teaches us more about carpentry. It’s hard being a trainer but I enjoy it good because I am working with the young people. Sometimes I get mad at them, but it always works out and everyone is happy.”


  • Graduated from WAM Training Program 2015

Joined WAM in 2015

Home islands: Ainlinglaplap andjaluit

Associate Director Tamie Bowman

Tamie Bowman Associate Director

“It’s a privilege to be part of the WAM organization. They have developed a unique program that combines preserving Marshallese culture through canoe building and sailing with teaching life skills that assist in navigating the ‘real world’ job market.”


Tamie started work as WAM’s Associate Director in October, 2015. She hails from Washington State and she and her husband, Joel,  arrived in the Marshall Islands on their yacht Good News in December, 2014.  The Bowmans have lived in Micronesia since 2008, mainly based in US Territory of Guam. Tamie was excited to learn about WAM and the program’s efforts to teach traditional canoe building and sailing skills to the youth of the Marshall Islands. As Associate Director she is assisting Director Alson Kelen in all aspects of program operations, the writing of grant applications, promoting the organization … and managing the website!


Tamie has been involved in various business and volunteer activities and is now actively receiving training to raise her skills in program management and grant writing.


Bellingham, Washington State, US

Tolina Tomeing - Counselor

Tolina Tomeing – Counselor

“I have been a counselor for the Waan Aelõñ in Majel program and working with at-risk youth for the past five years. The WAM counseling program offers the trainees life skills, substance abuse counseling, individual counseling, group counseling, and family counseling. I do the counseling with the trainees to help them meet their goals and make their dreams for their future life a reality.”


  • Graduate of the College of the Marshall Islands (2006-2007 and 2013-?)
  • Certificate of Completion in Fundamentals of Addictions Counseling and Professional Ethics
  • Completed Training course Sexually Transmitted Infection Case Management
  • Certificate of Completion in Patient Navigation Workshop
  • Awarded Certificate on Women’s Health Education Network
  • Certificate of Completion in Recovery Oriented System of Care Training
  • Training on Global AIDS Response Progress Report conducted by Ministry of Health and National Advisory Committee for HIV, STI AND TB
  • Certified on Basic Tobacco Intervention
  • Certificate of Completion in Foundation of Addiction Treatment Practice

Joined WAM in 2009

Home islands: Wotje and Ebon

Linton Baso - Assistant Trainer

Linton Baso – Program Lead Trainer

“I am a former trainee of the Waan Aelõñ in Majel program, graduating in the year 2009. I admire the WAM training program because it takes youth who are at risk of failing in life and teaching them certain skills and knowledge for their future. My goal is to teach the trainees numeracy and vocational skills such as canoe building, boat building, wood crafting using a wide range of tools.”


  • Graduated with High School Diploma
  • Certification of Completion in the Waan Aelõñ in Majel Program in 2009
  • Certification of Completion in the Carpentry Program at the Australian Pacific Technical College in Fiji
  • Certification of Completion in the Level II Carpentry course at the Workforce Development Agency Taichung-Changhua-Nantou Regional Branch in Taichung City. The course was funded by the Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund in 2015

Joined WAM in 2010

Home islands: Ailinglaplap and Namdrik

Isocker Anwell - Trainer

Isocker Anwell – Trainer

“I live in Laura, at the western side of Majuro, and enjoy working at the Waan Aelõñ in Majel Program as a trainer. My goal is to work with the youth and teach them tool names, tool usage, and work skills such as canoe and boat building. I also teach them how to cook healthy food.”


Certificate of Completion in the Waan Aelõñ in Majel Program

Joined WAM in 2006

Home island: Majuro


Master Canoe Builder Binton Daniel

Binton Daniel – Master Canoe Builder

I like working at the WAM program because I enjoy teaching the trainees how to learn the names of the different woodworking tools and how to use them. Next I teach them how to build canoes and the skills to sail them. My goal is that they will learn these skills well enough that they can pass the knowledge on to their families and friends.”


  • Trained in Gardening hosted by PIMA

  • Trained in Canoe Building by Master Canoe Builders Zedkeia Baso, Pinam Henry, and Samuel Jambin

Joined WAM in 2012

Home islands: Ainlinglaplap and Mejit

WAM Director Alson Kelen

Alson ‘Tuak’ Kelen – Director

“Working for WAM is win-win-360. While promoting and conserving our precious culture, we’re utilizing it to provide a future for our young people and a sustainable livelihood for our fragile nation.”


Alson, who is a certified counselor, has been involved in the traditional canoeing culture of the Marshall Islands for a number of decades. For four years, he assisted the Waan Aelõñ Kein (These Islands) project to document the step-by-step construction of Marshallese canoes. In the late 1990s, he co-founded the Waan Aelõñ in Majel program, a registered Non-Government Organization.

As well as being the ongoing Director of WAM, Alson has worn many hats over the years, including the following:

  • Mayor of Bikini Atoll (November 2009 to 2011)

  • Councilman for Bikini Atoll (November 2007 to November 2009)

  • Chairman of Marshall Islands Shipping Corporation (2006 to present)

  • President, Council of NGOs (2005 to present)

Alson’s many achievements relating to canoes includes writing and compiling the following:

  • Traditional Canoe and Canoe Model Building Workbook, English version

  • Traditional Canoe and Canoe Model Building Workbook, Marshallese version

  • Canoe and Canoe Model Building Manual, English version

  • Canoe and Canoe Model Building Manual, Marshallese version

Home island: Bikini