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Girls hone construction skills at camp

July 21, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Jacqueline Gonzalez has been spending summer days looking at plans for a patio cover she's helping build.That's because she's among a dozen teenage girls getting hands-on training in construction at Magic Camp.

"It makes girls feel more confident that we can also do what guys can do," Gonzalez says.

The week-long summer camp was started by the National Association of Women in Construction to get girls interested in the non-traditional career path.

"Our purpose is to introduce them to a wide range of possibility," says Molly Huddleston, president of the Orange County chapter of the association. "The construction industry has construction lawyers, you've got your marketing departments, your accounting department and we have women who own their own businesses as well."

This is the second year for the summer camp and nearly half the girls from last year are back again this year.

From learning how to use a nail gun and basic carpentry to wiring a light and welding sheet metal, the teens were fully emerged in a construction setting.

"It was kind of scary because you see the flying sparks and everything," says 18-year-old Leny Zarate.

At the very least, they learned many practical skills.

"You can use it in your everyday life," Leny says, "so if a door breaks or something, you can fix it. You don't have to pay somebody else to do it."

The camp is free as the cost is covered by sponsors.

It's a chance to have fun and help others. The patio cover will be installed at a non-profit home in Fullerton.

For Gonzalez and Zarate, the camp is a chance to hone their skills.

They both received scholarships to Fullerton College to study construction.


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