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Campus Life  

New College camp introduces girls to carpentry

Okanagan College Media Release

Malaika Dutta 2019A fresh addition to Okanagan College’s inventory of summer camps is cultivating wood-be carpenters among girls aged nine to 12.

Carpentry Projects for Girls is a camp that offers girls a chance to be creative in the woodworking shop at the College’s Kelowna campus, and gives them an introduction to trades.

“I was in the go-kart camp a couple of weeks ago, and on the last day of camp, I told my parents I wanted to come back,” says Malaika Dutta, a nine-year-old participant. “I really liked the idea of learning how to build things. I’ve never made anything like this before, but now I’m starting to think about things that I can make at home.”

The camp is led by Red Seal endorsed trades instructors, and Women in Trades Training (WITT) mentors have been stopping in to lend a helping hand.

“It’s fantastic to have the girls in here this young,” says Mary-Jaye Salmon, Red Seal Endorsed Carpenter and WITT mentor of 11 years. “They’re smart and in tune with health and safety. It’s great to show them the possibilities they have for their future. Maybe they won’t end up making a career choice of trades, but it definitely shows them that they can, and maybe sparks another interest of theirs that they will go on to pursue.”

This week, the girls have been building a number of small pieces including bird-shaped doorstops and planters, and will work together building oversized, outdoor games such as Jenga, dice, and corn hole.

“This camp is a great addition to CampOC,” says OC President Jim Hamilton. “Our WITT program does a tremendous job of providing opportunities for women to pursue a successful career in the trades, and this camp allows us to introduce these same possibilities to the next generation.”

This pilot project was funded by the Government of Canada's Union Training and Innovation Program – Women in Construction Fund, delivered through Industry Training Authority (ITA).

“This camp puts the tools in girls’ hands, letting them be creative in a fun, safe, and educational setting,” says Shelley Gray, CEO of ITA. “They are able to explore their own skills and hopefully find their passion in the skilled trades.”

As the camp came to a close today, parents, ITA and OC staff joined the girls for a barbeque and an afternoon of playing the games they built. 

With camps spanning from Revelstoke to the South Okanagan, CampOC offers a variety of camps each summer for students in Grades 2-12.

For more information on CampOC, visit campoc.ca.

More information about the College’s Women in Trades Training program is available at okanagan.bc.ca/witt.



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