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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Charitable construction project assists in development of local camp

by Adam Gault

Things continued to get brighter for the Kiwanis Sunshine Point Camp. Last week, students from the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board’s (WECDSB) Construction Academy Program volunteered their time to assist in the construction of several new cabins at the County Road 50 summer camp.

“We saw an article in the paper that the camp had raised money to build new cabins, but they were having trouble because of the skills shortage in finding people to build the cabins,” Construction Academy Lead Teacher, Cory McAiney, said. “From there, we put some plans together, and got some great partners here with the Home Hardwares of Tecumseh, Essex, Amherstburg, and Harrow, all pitching in to donate materials for the cabins.”

The Construction Academy Program provides grade 11 and 12 students with a two-year program in which to acquire hands-on construction and trades experience, giving students in the program a head start over the competition ahead of entering the trades market. Carpentry and masonry students in the program have the opportunity to begin their apprenticeship in grade 11 to earn a level one college apprenticeship, as well as their Specialist High Skills Major Red Seal certification.

“This takes the theory they’ve learned in class, applying it in an actual job situation and working with the actual contractors we have here, that’s a wealth of knowledge to share with [the students],” McAiney said. “They are literally two years ahead of every other student [who] comes out of a high school. For them to work with all these different tradespeople, the electricians, the siders, the roofers, window guys, and they’re all working with our students, which is like having five extra teachers for them. It’s a great experience for them.”

The students worked Monday and Tuesday at the jobsite, which also coincided with Catholic Education Week, which is dedicated to assisting the vulnerable and giving back to the community.

“It was a perfect opportunity for us to work with a great group like the Kiwanis Club of Windsor,” McAiney commented.

The President of the Kiwanis Club of Windsor, and leader in the camp’s resurrection process, Dan Inverarity, said it has been and incredible experience working with the Construction Academy on the cabin replacement project, and echoed that the experience they’re gaining through the program will be invaluable to them as they embark on their careers.

“It’s great to have the kids out here doing [the work],” Inverarity said. “They’re only going to learn so much in the classroom, to come out into the real world and get practical experience is very important.”

The Kiwanis Sunshine Point Camp has grown tremendously over the past several years, through the tireless efforts of Inverarity and countless restoration projects, and his dedication to provide children from less fortunate means with the opportunity to enjoy a summer camping experience.

The new cabins are scheduled for completion at the beginning of June.

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