It’s a girls’ world

By Katie McDowell

COLUMBIANA – When Aimee Livesay’s family bought a house this year, there was a lot of renovation to be done.

The 14-year-old Shelby County High School freshman thought it would be interesting to know how to help with the work. Livesay made that thought a reality by registering for the annual Girls Can Camp, which was held June 11-15 at the Shelby County School of Technology.

The camp, which is a joint project between the Shelby County School District’s Career Technical Education Department, Alabama Power Company and Vulcan Industrial Contractors, offers girls hands-on experience in carpentry, electrical work, welding and architectural design.

The campers also hear from professional women in those fields. The purpose of the camp is to encourage girls to take an interest in engineering, construction and other stereotypically male jobs.

“That’s one of the things we try to get across to them as well,” said Amy Lee of the Career Technical Education Department. “It’s no longer just a man’s role. It’s whatever your passion is.”

Lee said interest in the camp has grown steadily since it was first offered four years ago. About 50 high school girls applied for the 15 spots in this year’s camp.

Kendell Thornburg, a 14-year-old Chelsea student, said she registered for the camp because it teaches the skills she needs to learn to become a model maker.

“To do that, you have to do carpentry and welding,” she said. “When I heard about the camp, I thought it would be good to figure out if I like to do that stuff.”

Thornburg enjoyed the work, and she hopes to attend the Shelby County School of Technology beginning in her sophomore year to further develop those skills.

For Livesay, she has learned enough to assist with house renovations, although she said her family hired professionals for most of the work.

“We got electricians … but they did miss this one spot where they forgot to put in the light switch,” she said. “I could do that, at least.”