Girls attending the Nontraditional Summer Camp at Lee County Area Technology Center (ATC) proved that they can do anything boys can do! During the week of May 22-26, they could be found changing oil in a car, checking tire pressure, changing windshield wipers, learning about electricity by making a pickle light up, becoming familiar with different types of welding, flying drones and building squirrel and bird feeders. And they loved it all! Morgan Hinkle, an 8th grader at Lee County Middle School, summed it up well when she said, “I liked everything because I liked the hands-on”.
Lily Patrick, 6th grade student from Owsley County stated, “I liked changing the oil. It was really fun. I liked getting under the car even though it was really messy”. Madison Begley, 10th grader at Lee County High School, agreed that “auto mechanics was fun…we got to do a lot of hands-on stuff”.
The girls explained that while learning about electricity they wrapped each end of a wire around two nails and then stuck a nail in each end of a dill pickle. They used jumper cables to hook to the nails, and then the pickle lit up! Emma Smith, 7th grader at Lee Co. Middle School, said she “liked working on the cars, but lighting up the pickle was hard to beat. It smelled absolutely terrible…burnt pickle does not smell good!
Of the seven girls in attendance, five of them chose to build squirrel feeders while the other two constructed bird feeders. The squirrel feeders, which looked like miniature picnic tables, can be hung in a tree. Corn-on-the-cob can be stuck onto the large screw, and the squirrels can sit on the tiny table and enjoy their corn! The girls utilized electric drills and screw drivers as well as hammers to construct the feeders. Isabella Brandenburg, 7th grader, explained that her dad is a carpenter and she has helped him some. She said she will “keep her bird feeder in the house so the weather won’t mess it up. If my dad can stain it, I will hang it on a tree”. Hannah Brandenburg, who will be entering the 6th grade in Lee Co., stated that she “liked building the squirrel feeder and got to do the hard part. It was actually fascinating”.
Visitors to the girls’ sessions, in addition to the ATC instructors, included a woman welder and Jessica Higgins, a student from the Hazard Community and Technical College, Knott County Branch. Jessica, who is the only female student in the construction technology program at HCTCS, will receive an Applied Associates Degree in Science next May and will then attend Eastern Kentucky University and major in construction management. Her goal is to own her own construction company and manage her own crew. As she assisted the girls with the building of their feeders, she was encouraging them to pursue their interests in the carpentry field.
The boys who attended the camp participated in activities that included flying drones, learning how to do CPR, how to wrap injured ankles, how to read food labels, making a magazine cover, learning about game designing and solving a crime by examining fingerprints. Guest instructors and speakers included Katrina Slone, STEM Coordinator from KVEC, who provided drones for the students to fly and work on when they crashed. A former Lee County student, who is currently attending college to be a physical therapist, talked to the boys about sports injuries and how they’re treated. A recent graduate discussed how he had designed a game and allowed them to play it.
Eli Gibson said, “My favorite thing was flying drones…it was fun and we got to race”. Dylan Mayes explained that it was a hard decision to choose a favorite activity because “we did a lot of fun stuff, but probably drones because I like flying stuff”.
The other two boys at the camp concluded that the forensics activity, conducted by Jennifer Hall (science teacher from Owsley County High School) and Francis Davis (Lee Co. ATC Health/Science instructor) was their favorite. Daniel Mayes explained that “I like fingerprints and stuff like lie detectors. We are fixing to solve a made-up crime.” Dave Mayes, who says his options for the future include forensics, engineering or being a scientist, concluded that “today’s stuff, like forensics, is very exciting. It’s one of the things I might want to do.”
Amy Johnson, guidance counselor at Lee County Middle School, explained that funding for the program was from a Perkins Grant received by the Lee County ATC. Students in grades 6-12 from Lee, Owsley and Wolfe counties were invited to attend the camp. The girls and boys who attended were bused to Somerset Community College the last day of the camp for a tour of the campus and a visit to the Radiology and Physical Therapy departments.