There were a lot of smiles at the College of New Caledonia (CNC) in Quesnel early Friday afternoon, Aug. 19, where youth showcased various projects they made in a week-long camp exploring the trades and construction for family and friends.
The Discover Trades Day Camp by the BC Tradeswomen Society wrapped up for the 11 Indigenous youth between the ages of 9-12 with an intimate celebration attended by delegates, including Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes.
The week-long camp was completed earlier by 16 young women.
Lisa Scott, a Red Seal electrician and regional representative for the BC Centre for Women in the Trades, was the brain behind the Discover Trades Day Camps.
“It was because of all of these organizations’ support that these camps were made possible and to all of the amazing people that are here to make this vision into a reality,” Scott said Friday, thanking various individuals and organizations.
Scott extended her appreciation to Maureen Phung with the BC Industry Training Authority, whom they successfully applied for grant funding.
Throughout the week-long camp, the Indigenous youth learned about carpentry, electrical, sheet metal, plumbing, masonry and occupational health and safety.
Among the projects they made were copper bracelets, EMT wind chimes, bean bag toss, yard Yahtzee and PVC water guns.
“Their growth in confidence over these weeks has been so awesome,” Scott said. “They learned to use an array of hand tools and power tools and worked with all types of materials. At times I wasn’t sure who was having more fun, all the kids or us.”
Over the past year, Phung had many conversations with Scott about organizing the camps and said it was amazing to finally see it come together and all the smiling faces.
“You just got a taste of a little bit of the trades, and I hope that sparks something in you,” Phung told the youth.
“That you know that when you’re in high school, that it’s an opportunity for you to explore that career path a little bit more, and then if you find you like it, even more, to come to CNC to take the programs and be the future tradespeople that we need in the province.”
Oakes said her heart was bursting with pride that such a program was piloted in Quesnel and that she looked forward to working with Phung on how future Discover Trades Day Camps could be held in communities and campuses across B.C.
Oakes also thanked Scott for her leadership.
CNC president Dr. Dennis Johnson thanked instructors and volunteers for their work and for providing time to teach the youth in a fun and collaborative environment, which CNC was proud to provide the facilities for.
Each participant was presented with a framed certificate acknowledging their successful completion of the Discover Trades Summer Camp.
Scott, who received flowers and a certificate for her critical role, said a lending library created by the youth would be donated to the CNC Trades Department in Quesnel so books could be shared between tradespeople and new apprentices.
Carpenter Meghann Barsalou hopes to bring the Discover Trades Camps back to Prince Rupert.
“Having the girls here and seeing their confidence is just amazing. The importance, I believe for me also, is you get a job like this you don’t have to rely on anyone—you can earn enough money to care of yourself and live the life you want and work as much or as little you want.”
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