MAGIC: Mentoring a Girl in Construction

Apr 5, 2015

Magic Camp_aWomen in construction. Of course there are women in the construction industry.


Then we pause, think a little, peddle back through our memories, remember the whistles and cat-calling as we walked by construction sites, but no, we can’t remember ever seeing a woman wielding a concrete grinder, up on scaffolding with a torch welding steel, installing windows, or laying tile.

We know we enjoyed learning from our father how to use a flat-head, Phillips, hex, or Torx screw driver; Allen, ratchet, and adjustable wrenches; hammers, washers, nails versus screws, and the electric saw in the family garage.

We’ve employed these skills repeatedly throughout the decades, once not so gracefully when we decided to make our own desk. With the 4x4s we used for legs, this thing could hold a family of four and survive a 9.0. From A to Z it’s basic, but we were so proud! She’s now almost 20 years old and still going strong (and the envy of a dear friend who’s now fantasizing about building his own desk, complete with 4x4s).




Speaking of construction, and thanks to Camille Levee, Executive Director of Women at Work, we are now aware of NAWIC: the National Association of Women in Construction, founded in 1953. NAWIC’s purpose is to “enhance the success of women in the construction industry.” The core value of the organization? “Believe in ourselves as women, persevere with the strength of our convictions, and dare to move into new horizons.”






To introduce the skills of construction to a new generation, NAWIC offers a one-week summer day camp called MAGIC: Mentor a Girl in Construction.

This five-day free event is sponsored by the San Gabriel Valley Chapter #110 of NAWIC and will be held on the Pasadena City College campus, June 22nd-26th. Young women in or entering 9th through 12th grades are eligible to attend. Girls will be taught basic skills in the areas of carpentry, electrical, and plumbing. Students will also receive background information about jobs in the industry, the requirements for said jobs, and will be introduced to female engineers, supervisors, project superintendents, accountants, architects, and business owners—women who have achieved all levels of success in the construction industry.




Brook Farien provides a testimonial:

MAGIC is definitely a hands-on experience in construction. Every day is a new experience in the construction world. Whether it be painting, welding, drilling, or learning about job opportunities that can possibly be a fun option. The instructors are patient and well-versed in all different kinds of aspects. This camp is a taste of what ordinary men and women do every day. (








“We’re moving these girl towards an industry that we direly need women in,” said Jack Chapel, Associate General Contractors education coordinator, at MAGIC Camp 2012.

MAGIC Camp instructs girls on “safety first” details, while also teaching them new, marketable skills and having them engage in actual construction projects, both individually and as a group, helps “build self confidence and self esteem.”




MAGIC: Mentor a Girl in Construction
Monday-Friday, June 22nd-26th, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Pasadena City College, Engineering & Technology Division
1570 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena 91105
Lunch and snacks provided
Free day camp; registration must be received by June 1st
Details and registration PDF here
For more info, visit
Or email




All still images were sourced from a video (below) of the 2012 Magic Camp in San Diego:





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