This article was originally posted on AL.com on June 7, 2018 and has been reprinted with permission.
Some teenage girls spend their summers by the pool, but 15 girls in Shelby County are spending it doing construction.
The Girls Can Construction Camp was held at the Shelby County Career Technical Educational Center. Each day, teachers and volunteers taught the teenagers about a different craft and gave campers hands-on opportunities to practice their skills on different projects. Fifteen girls, all in 8th through 10th grades at Shelby County schools, participated in the week-long camp.
"Skilled trades are male-dominated professions, and we want to empower females to join the force by giving them early education and encouragement to pursue their interests," said Julie Godfrey, supervisor of Career and Technical Education for the center.
The girls learned carpentry, plumbing, welding and electrical skills. They had a graduation ceremony and went on field trip to the E.C. Gaston power plant. At the end of the camp, they took home several things they made during the week.
During carpentry class, the girls constructed bedside tables complete with a customized nameplate from one of the volunteers. During the electrical class, the girls built lamps from copper piping.
Wednesday, during welding class, each girl made a flower and another object of their choice — some of which included an angel, a bunny, a dragon, an airplane, a ladybug and even a dachshund.
Career technical teachers in the school system and volunteers from Go Build Alabama, Alabama Power, Alabama Plumbers and Gas Fitters Examining Board taught the campers each day. Those companies, along with Colburn Construction, Davis Plumbing, Insulators & Allied Workers Local 78, McAbee Construction, Magnus & Company, NCCER, Performance Contractors, Plumbing and Pipefitting Local 91, United Rentals and Yates Construction sponsored the camp.
The executive director of Go Build Alabama, Jason Phelps, said, "We understand that women are vital to skilled trade industries statewide and beyond."
"We are proud to support an event that shares the goal to grow and foster a new generation of female professionals," he said.