Eager to show off her week’s worth of carpentry projects, 10-year-old Reece Sanderson tracked down a bird feeder among several other identical ones, ready to take it home and make it her own with a little paint.
Sanderson and eight other kids from Grades 6 to 8 spent the last two weeks honing their building skills and had a chance to show off their wares Thursday, including bird feeders, coat hangers, stilts and Plinko boards, miniature versions of the game from "The Price is Right" game show.
"We learned how to measure stuff and a bunch of other things," Sanderson said, with clacking in the background as other students showed off their skills on stilts.
The summer camp is part of the province’s Building for Tomorrow pilot, a program meant to entice young people to consider careers in trades, hosted by Assiniboine Community College. It consisted of 12 summer camps held across the province in an effort to attract more students into careers in the skilled trades, including plumbing, electrical, mechanics and landscaping.
While Sanderson says she knows her way around a hammer, she’s not yet convinced she wants to be a carpenter when she grows up — but rather, a doctor.
"I’ve done a wall with my dad," Sanderson said when asked if she’s done any carpentry before, "but not much."
"I want to be a doctor. Well, I want to try and be a doctor," she said precociously.
Yesterday, the students received certificates of completion from ACC president Mark Frison before they started their final project.
The group will build dog houses, destined for the Brandon Humane Society, that will be completed today. The society’s manager, Tracy Munn, was also on hand to speak with the students.
"It’s amazing, I think it’s great," Munn said.
There is a need for dog houses at the shelter, but Munn said they may also donate some to surrounding First Nations who may also put the dog houses to good use.
Over the course of the camp, students learned the very basics of carpentry safety and some of them had never so much as held a hammer before, said instructor Randy Kaskiw.
"But for some of them, it comes natural and obviously some had done work with their parents before," he said. "So, it was right from beginner to some with experience."
The government pledged $200,000 for the one-year pilot, with a focus on finding participants who have traditionally been under-represented in the trades, including girls, aboriginals, new Canadians and children from lower-income families. Around 230 young people enrolled this year, with a hope it will become a permanent program.
Last month, a group of students participated in a similar camp funded by the province, but instead of hammers and nails, they were learning their way around pots and pans in a culinary program, also hosted by ACC.
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