Youth explore skilled trades through summer camp

Eli Jackson, age 12, Aiden McCorick, age 12, and Koda Eshkibok, age 13 show off their marble rollercoster they made from a pool noodle, plastic cups and tin foil at the Skills Work! Summer Camp in Wikwemikong. photos by Robin Burridge

WIKWEMIKONG—Youth in Wikwemikong explored skilled trades and technologies at the Skills Work! Summer Camp hosted by Skills Ontario in partnership with Wii-ni N-guch-Tood Employment and Training (a branch of the Wikwemikong Development Commission).

“The camp has been going very well,” said Ashley Pszeniczny, aboriginal lead liaison officer with Skills Ontario. “We have 15 campers that have been having a great time and are really engaged in the activities.”

Skills Ontario hosted the summer camp to over 400 students in Grade 7-9 this summer across the province, exposing the youth to a future career in skilled trades and technologies.

“The Skills Work! Summer Camp program has been running since 2000 and gives campers the opportunity to participate in skilled trades and technologies workshops, industry tours, meet local mentors and learn more about a career path in the skilled trades,” states a press release from Skills Ontario. “Each camp hosts a range of different workshops and tours, depending on the specialization of the host college or industry facility, making for a truly unique and engaging camp.”

“The goal of the Skills Work! Summer Camp is to introduce these young campers to a range of career possibilities,” said Karen Throupe, summer camp manager at Skills Ontario. “Young people need to know that the trades and technologies offer many opportunities that can lead to bright, stable and successful futures.”

Christianna Jones with Wii-ni N’guch-Tood explained that she learned about the camp online and applied last winter to bring the camp to Wikwemikong.

Youth at the Skills Work! Summer Camp in Wikwemikong built gliders, attended a hands-on carpentry workshop with Mark Francis and his crew from Ontario Works, learned tile setting and mosaic with Jocelyn Bebamikawe and Ms. Jones, took an industry tour of Complete Automotive and Henley Boats, had hands-on workshops on electrical apprenticeship led by David Trudeau and electrician Laird Lee taught building electrical circuits and a workshop on cooking and baking with Loreena Wabonosse and Chef Hiawatha.

The camp concluded with a camper showcase where campers highlighted their projects to parents, college VIPs and the media.

Skills Ontario is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the skilled trades and technologies as viable first-choice career options for Ontario Youth. To learn more visit