Mohawk College, STARRT Institute, Stoney Creek
Uh-oh. Now I can’t decide which camp I like better. And I still have three more to go!
I spent the week of July 11th at the Stoney Creek campus of Mohawk College. It was pretty cool, because the whole campus seems to be all about skilled trades! And since there weren’t too many people around, we got to use all the recreation stuff at lunch that the students normally use – like ping pong tables!
On the first day, a guy named Eric came to talk to us about safety. He told us about his first job when he was 16. During his first week, a crane operator asked him to help guide a steel wall to an area of the factory. Eric ended up having his lower half crushed by the wall! I couldn’t believe he could talk about it so calmly! Our leaders, Jen and Shannon, talked to us about how safety is extra important to younger people. They said younger people often don’t feel comfortable asking for help on the job because they don’t want to seem incompetent. Eric said himself that he clearly remembers thinking “isn’t there someone else more qualified around to help with this?” That was a scary start to the week, but seeing Eric so positive really helped to make it less scary!
One workshop I really liked was woodworking. Our workshop leader was Shari, and she taught us how to make toolboxes. I really liked trying out the power tools, like the drill press and the band saw. And then we painted our toolboxes! Shari’s been teaching at Mohawk for a long time, and she let us keep the hand tools we used to make our toolboxes, which was really nice of her. Then, in the afternoon, we decorated cakes! It wasn’t quite the same as being in a big fancy kitchen and making a whole meal, but it was a lot of fun. And it was delicious!
Tour day was weird, only because our two tours were so different from each other. We went to Laurenzo’s School of Hair Design in the morning. It’s a training centre for learning hairstyling. The apprentices there taught us about different hairstyling techniques. I had no idea how much there was to it! It’s a really creative skilled trade. The students showed us the mannequin heads they practice on, which are incredibly creepy. But you can do crazy designs with all kinds of colours on a mannequin head, where a real person might not like it so much! All of us got free haircuts and styles, and one of the other campers even got a mohawk!
We spent the afternoon touring Dofasco. Dofasco is a huge company that makes steel. We got to see the parts of the facility where they do all the repairs for everything, and we had to wear a lot of safety gear, including hard hats. (Unfortunately, that was the end of the mohawk, but after listening to Eric’s story, I’m a safety kind of guy!) At the end of the tour, we were given toolkits that included a tape measure, flashlight, pliers and wire strippers by David, who helped arrange the tour. I love free stuff! And now I have more items for my toolbox!
I’m still having a great time, and I can’t wait to try the next activities!