The shed from River Haven

Proudly standing in front of the shed that they built is the gang from the NAWIC. Photo by Michael Gordon

The shed that is now at River Haven was built at the Career Education Center (CEC) at the Camarillo Airport by the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Ventura County Chapter. It was loaded and hauled to River Haven by McCarty and Sons Towing, who generously donated their time.

Even though some material was donated and privately funded NAWIC is hoping to continue to receive monetary donations to the Ventura NAWIC chapter to help reimburse for the cost of the materials. The entire camp costs, including tool kits, safety supplies, and camp t-shirts (all for the girls keep) as well as materials and equipment was around $7,000.

The Ventura County Chapter organizes and sponsors a girl’s construction camp one week during the summer each year to teach young ladies the basics of construction, including safety, material handling, hand and power tool operation and heavy equipment operation. They learn other important life lessons along the way such as responsibility, team work and self confidence among others.

The past three camps have included middle school aged girls, while the original camps were for high school ages only. This year 21 girls participated, 8 of them being 12 year old middle schoolers, about 6 being of high school ages and the balance being 13 and 14 year olds. They were mentored by five full time adult instructors and three camp administrators.

The lead instructor, Daniel Bell, is the Construction Technology teacher at Thousand Oaks High School and is also a general building contractor. They were fortunate enough to have Yvan Jose of Oxnard, who just graduated from ACE Charter High School this year, be a mentor for most of the week. He was leaving to compete in the national competition of Skills USA in Louisville, KY, as the California state Skills USA champ. This young man, right here in our own backyard, was representing not just Ventura County but all of California in this prestigious construction skills competition.

NAWIC Ventura has been running the camps since 2010. Each year the curriculum or project has been different. This is there second tiny home, the first being a fancy custom trailer mounted unit that ended up being a tiny home movement teaching model that travels the US.

NAWIC, established in 1955 by a group of women in the Fort Worth, TX area, is a non-profit organization whose core purpose is to enhance the success of women in the construction industry.

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