They can do it: Camp teaches construction skills

Candace Mims installs a ceiling fan at Girls Can Construction Camp at the Shelby County College and Career Center. (Ginny Cooper/For the Reporter)

Candace Mims installs a ceiling fan at Girls Can Construction Camp at the Shelby County College and Career Center. (Ginny Cooper/For the Reporter)

By GINNY COOPER / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA—It was during her first year at Girls Can Construction Camp that Kendall Thornburgh discovered she wanted to pursue a career in architectural engineering.

“I love designing things and seeing them come to life is one of my favorite things,” Thornburgh said. “(This camp) introduced me to architecture and architectural design.”

Thornburgh, a junior at Shelby County High School, came back to the camp for the third time this year as a junior camp counselor, and she has plans to continue the tradition.

“If I can, I will definitely come back,” Thornburgh said.

Girls Can Construction Camp is designed to introduce girls to a variety of skilled trade careers in the construction industry. Throughout the camp, girls practice design and drafting, carpentry, welding and electrical work. On the final day of the camp, the girls have the opportunity to tour the E.C. Gaston Steam Plant in Wilsonville, where they see the skills they have learned throughout the week applied in a career.

“Most of these girls have never done anything like this before,” said Tom McNeal, Alabama Power employee and co-director of the camp.

Covetta Jones, a sophmore at Chelsea High School, said carpentry has been the highlight of her week at the camp.

“You get to actually hammer things,” Jones said. “We built an eight foot wall. I’ve never done anything like that before.”

Samantha Dunn, a freshman at Shelby County High School, said the camp taught her never to underestimate her own ability.

“Right before I came I didn’t think I could do it,” Dunn said. “It’s just really cool knowing I accomplished (these) things.”