“I wanna weld!” beamed Dylan, a grade 6 MANS student, after attending “Mind Over Metal,” a five-day welding summer camp, with assistant principal Mike Willing. The Edmonton camp, sponsored in full by the Canadian Welding Association, brought together 20 students from grades 6-9 from the northern part of Alberta, including five from MANS.
“Welding is actually fun,” affirmed Dylan’s classmate, Wayne. Their enthusiasm comes as no surprise for Deborah Mates, Director of the Canadian Welding Association Foundation.
“We’re seeing kids that didn’t have a direction get inspired,” says Mates. “It’s changing lives.” It’s not uncommon, she says, for 18 of the 20 students to want to continue with welding. They see a reason to continue through high school to get to apprenticeships.
It was a win-win venture: the CWA wants to encourage students in a trade with a shortage, and MANS got to gauge student interest in Industrial Arts. Recognizing the potential to foster student talent, the CWA is partnering with MANS, investing cash and expertise to create an Industrial Arts Center in the new high school building.
“The camp was an absolutely fantastic opportunity for the students,” says Willing. “The instructor’s enthusiasm just spills over!”
It’s an excitement that lingers. “My son loved this camp,” wrote parent Kristen “Krissy” Omeasoo in a MANS Facebook post after her son returned home with his welding camp certificate. “He keeps talking about welding. We were both very happy he got to experience this with the school and other fellow students.”
For Mates, the camp was a success on several levels. “Just having someone say ‘You did a good job’” she smiles, “You can see them light up.”