By SHERI GASSAWAY
Affton, MO – A group of local union tradeswomen helped several Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri earn their Woodworking Badges by sharing their love of construction.
The Feb. 20 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 their badges, the scouts had to learn how to use a hammer, drill, hand saw and level. Female carpenters, operating engineers and iron workers served as instructors for the event, and each taught specific skills in closely monitored, work stations.
“We’re really excited to take part in the event and share our knowledge with the girls,” she said. “It’s amazing to see how quickly they’re learning and how comfortable and confident they are with the tools.”
Three Girl Scout troops participated in the half-day event, and each girl made her own wooden plant stand. Jennifer Reavis, troop leader for Cadette Troop 3116, said the girls thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
“This is a great event because it takes the girls out of their comfort zones and exposes them to non-traditional careers,” she said. “We try to get them to do as many projects as possible, especially when it involves empowering women.”
For Reavis’ daughter Chiara, working with tools is not something new. The seventh grader said her first project was building a wooden savings bank.
“I have fun hammering things, and I like power tools,” Chiara said. “I’m working on building a go kart with my grandpa right now.”
Ten-year-old Keira Rideout said she had been looking forward to the event for weeks. Her excitement was apparent by the smile that never left her face throughout the day.
“I can’t decide if I like hammering or sawing better,” Keira said. “But I think I’d like to make furniture when I grow up.”
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 314-963-3200 or visit mowit.org.