ERA Architects

‘Girls Can Too’ Provides Participants with Hands-On Learning Opportunities

Bolton Camp

ERA’s Janice Quieta and Shelley Ludman were able to spend a few summer days at the Bolton Camp with a group of ambitious young women, to help them consider career paths that might otherwise not be an obvious choice. The Girls Can Too program offers hands-on construction and ecology learning opportunities to young women, while fostering innovation, collaboration and professional development skills that will benefit them in the longer term.

The Bolton Campsite was originally opened in 1922 as a fresh air camp for low-income Toronto youth, offering a chance to escape the city in the summer. Located in Caledon, the site’s 254 acres of greenspace and collection of more than 50 historic buildings now offer the perfect location for a new type of retreat: Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) purchased the Bolton Camp site in 2011 and will be re-purposing the site from its previous use to a community cultural hub.

Part of TRCA’s programming currently includes skills development programs for local youth, including the Girls Can Too (GCT) program. The GCT program’s hands-on projects range from restoration work on trails and cabins, building boardwalks through sensitive ecological areas, to mentoring sessions with female business and industry leaders.

Janice first led an architectural model making session with the junior GCT program. Starting with an exploration of the girls’ ideas through drawing and brainstorming, each participant created a 3D model using an assortment of materials – glue, clay, card stock, popsicle sticks, and wooden cubes – along with found materials on the site.

“Leading this session was rewarding in that we worked through model building issues as a team.”

Student Tour

Janice and Shelley also led an architectural tour of the site for the high school students, which focused on learning architectural terms, building techniques and materials. At the end of the tour the participants drew diagrams, cross sections and 3D perspective drawings of a building onsite, incorporating the terms and techniques they learned during the tour.

Student Drawing

ERA was happy to contribute to an initiative that increases inclusivity. There was equal excitement in witnessing the energy and fresh perspectives the participants contributed to the design challenges they addressed over the course of the summer.