Go-kart camp lets girls test-drive a career in the trades
Okanagan College’s go-kart camp for girls is revving its engines again this year during the College’s popular CampOC summer camps.
Girls Can Go-Kart Too! is a camp that not only offers girls in Grades 4-6 a chance to sit in the driver’s seat, but also gives them hands-on training that could steer them towards a career in trades.
The camp was created in 2018 by the College and the Industry Training Authority (ITA), who provided funding both last year and this year to help bring the project to life.
“This camp is a great opportunity for young women to learn and directly apply useful skills in a fun environment,” says Shelley Gray, CEO of ITA. “It’s a hugely enjoyable program for the young women, who we hope will become the skilled trades people of the future.”
This week 14 girls stepped into the automotive shop at the Kelowna campus, tackling everything from designing their go-karts to working on small engines, changing the oil, patching and replacing tires, testing and fixing brakes, and installing ignition kill switches – all under the watchful eye of OC Red Seal endorsed trades instructors.
“Last year I saw the girls racing the go-karts in the parking lot and it looked like a lot of fun, so I decided to try it this year,” says Skyla Golbey, a Grade 6 student. “I haven’t built one before but my uncle builds cars so I’ve been around them a lot. We’ve been learning about all the tools and how an engine works.”
Golbey agreed that knowing how to change a tire will be useful and that the highlight of the week will be “racing the karts, making sure they actually work, and getting dirty.”
While the camp was designed to help girls build their skills in the shop, connecting them with mentors is another priority.
“There was incredible interest in the pilot project,” explains Nancy Darling, Program Administrator for the College’s Women in Trades Training program (WITT). “The girls gain automotive knowledge and build confidence; they learn new skills that they will carry with them after the week is finished and they also made a few new friends.”
The camp wraps up today where the girls will take part in a friendly race around a race track that they built, followed by a BBQ with their parents, instructors and officials from the College. The race starts at 12:30 p.m. at Okanagan College Kelowna campus.
“This camp is a great opportunity for young girls to experience what the skilled trades are all about,” says Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College. “It’s great to see how excited they are to get into the shop. We hope their experience at the College sparks an interest that leads them to think about the many career possibilities open to them.”
CampOC is in its 15th year in Kelowna and offers a variety of camps each summer for students in Grades 2-12.
For more information on CampOC visit campoc.ca.
More information about the College’s Women in Trades Training program is available at okanagan.bc.ca/witt.
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