Female union carpenters share love of construction with Girl Scouts

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TRAINING THE NEW GENERATION: Alison Magee (second from left), an apprentice with Carpenters Local 664, explains the importance of using a level in carpentry to (left to right) Girl Scouts Sophia Kinninger, Savannah Seel and Lainey Arrol during a Feb. 11 workshop to help the scouts earn their Woodworking Badges. The event was held at the Nelson-Mulligan Carpenters Training Center. – Labor Tribune photo

By SHERI GASSAWAY

Correspondent

A group of female union carpenters and other volunteers helped several Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri earn their Woodworking Badges on Saturday.

The Feb. 11 workshop was co-sponsored by Missouri Women the Trades (MoWIT) and the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council’s Joint Apprenticeship program. It was held at the Nelson-Mulligan Carpenters Training Center at 8300 Valcour Ave. in Affton.

Beth Barton, MoWIT president, said that in order to earn the badges, the scouts had to learn how to use a hammer, drill, hand saw and level. Female carpenters, engineers and business owners served as instructors for the event, and each taught specific skills in closely monitored, work stations.

“Our goal is to provide outreach efforts to the girls and show them they CAN master these skills these and thrive in the construction industry if they want,” Barton said.

About 30 Girl Scouts participated in the half-day event, and each child made her own wooden plant stand. Sandra Hartman, troop leader for Girl Scout Troop 2521 and local business owner in the art industry, served as one of the instructors.

“These women have put on a fabulous program, and all the girls seem really interested in it,” Hartman said. “Plus, not everyone is cut out for collage and this introduces the girls to other options they have where they can make a decent living and have a rewarding career.”

Two of Hartman’s daughters, Ellen and Karen Bose, attended the event. Ellen Bose, 12, said in addition to earning her woodworking badge, she learned how to use a hammer and how not to use a hammer.

“This is so much fun,” Bose said. “I’m really interested I science as a career, but it’s empowering to know I can do work like this.”

Twelve-year-old Sophia Kinninger said her favorite part of the day was building the stool.

“This was a lot of fun and with the skills I learned today, I’ll be able t build things in the future,” Keira said. “It’s girl empowerment.”

Lucy Smith, a retired engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation, also served as an instructor at the event.

“After spending 30 years in the field, I love to teach and mentor and share my knowledge,” Smith said. “This is my way of paying it forward.”

Established in 2006, MoWIT is a non-profit agency that provides tradeswomen with support group meetings, job information and referrals. It also maintains a work list as a resource to the construction community. For more information, call (636) 926-6948 or visit mowit.org.

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