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President’s Letter: Youth Architecture Camp

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I ‘m sure many of you already know that it’s very cool to be an architect at a cocktail party. And for some reason we tend to attract those people who always come up to us and say, “When I was younger I wanted to be an architect.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard something like that and I’m sure many of you can relate. I would always ask them why they didn’t pursue architecture and even though I would get a wide range of answers, I’ve found that the one similarity that ties all their responses together was a lack of exposure to architecture.

Earlier this year in a very informal survey I discovered that many of us in the industry were first introduced to architecture in our youth. Even for myself, I first learned the term “architect” in second grade and it was what I pursued ever since. As one of my agenda items as Chapter President this year, I wanted to be very deliberate in introducing and making architecture more accessible to the younger generation. That’s why this month our chapter is holding our first annual Youth Architecture Camp.

Our camp will expose underrepresented and at-risk Oakland youth ages 12-15 to architecture. The day camp will be held June 25th-28th from 9am-4:30pm at Wurster Hall on Berkeley’s campus. In the camp, the students will be introduced to interactive design labs, site explorations, model making and presentations. We have also partnered with EmbARC Design Academy to identify those students in our camp showing a lot of interest and potential to be offered a scholarship to continue on a more intermediate four week long design studio at UC Berkeley.

Because it’s our first camp, we’ve limited the “campers” to 20 students. All the spots filled up almost immediately. We have a good mixture of boys and girls. The last two items we need for the camp is more materials and more volunteers. We are looking for donated new or old office supplies/materials (trace paper, foam core board, measuring tape, glue, scales, etc.). For those of you who are just hearing about this camp and want to help, please contact Sidney at the chapter office and let her know. You don’t need to be an architect to volunteer. — You just need to have a desire to do so. We’re looking forward to a successful first architecture youth camp.

Click here to sign up today to be a volunteer. Full-day volunteers are appreciated, but if you can only donate half a day, that’s great too!

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