Thanks to Stratford’s Technical Training Group, local businesses, and staff at Stratford Secondary and Elementary Schools, kids aged 7-14 got a hands-on introduction to eight different tech and trades-based professions they can explore further once they enter high school.
Put on by the Technical Training Group each November, the camp gives the students a chance to create something at workshops focused around tech design and construction, welding, manufacturing technology, cosmetology, robotics, culinary arts, and, new this year, horticulture.
“The whole idea behind it is to expose young individuals to the technical trades,” said Shawn Bontaine, business manager with the Technical Training Group. “What makes us a little bit unique is we don’t just talk about the trades, we actually take them into different samples of the trades and build actual projects, so they learn about technology, while at the same time learning hands on about some of the tools and some of the thought pattern behind the process of the projects.
“And then from there they walk out with the project in hand.”
The projects undertaken at this year’s camp included grinding and welding together a festive snowman, building a wooden nutcracker, building and programming a robot, and putting together a bee house for carpenter bees, among others.
Training and marketing manager Liz Balletto said the Technical Training Group also tries to ensure there are plenty of women who either study or work in the trades on hand to help the campers with their projects.