ALLENTOWN, Pa. — This year, the advanced campers at the Let's Build Construction Camp for Girls built a shed for a local homeowner. His winning bid at the Lehigh Valley Habitat for Humanity’s fundraising auction resulted in a new building for his property.

Seven high school aged girls, who have attended the camp in previous years, got together for one week in July to build a structure from start to finish.  ATAS International has sponsored this camp since it began four years ago and has been a part of its curriculum from the start.

The shed construction process began by meeting with its owner, to determine his needs for the building. The design process was guided by architect Samantha Ciotti Falcone, owner of SCF Architecture. Many volunteers from the local construction community came together to provide instruction and help the girls with building the shed.

This year, Kevin Klersy and Tim Coughlan of ATAS’ technical services and inside technical sales departments spent time with the campers, demonstrating and assisting with the installation of ATAS’ Colonial Seam standing seam metal roof panels and trims. A retractable awning was constructed with the same roof panels, which covers an opening on one side of the shed. It has a bar on the outside, under which stools can be placed, and a countertop on the inside of the bar area.

“ATAS is a strong supporter of the development and training of students within the local community, and this is the perfect opportunity to allow the campers exploration of potential careers in the architecture, engineering, construction, and manufacturing industries," said Lee Ann M. Slattery, sales support manager for ATAS, who was involved in the planning of the camp. "We are pleased to be involved in the camp again this year, and it was very exciting to see the girls design and build this shed.”      

Let’s Build is a free week-long camp designed for high school age girls to explore construction trades, architecture, engineering, and construction materials manufacturing through hands-on experiences. This was the first year for an advanced camp. The fourth annual beginners camp was held virtually this year during the week of Aug. 10. This camp was created in 2017, the result of a collaborative effort between the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) Greater Lehigh Valley Chapter and the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Eastern PA Chapter. The objectives of the camp include:

  • Provide girls an opportunity to explore a career in the construction industry.
  • Experience the construction trades through hands-on learning and building.  
  • Learn about architecture, engineering, and manufacturing during construction-related field trips to area businesses.
  • Develop greater self-esteem by teaching skills to solve challenging projects and successfully complete them.
  • Provide inspiration and mentoring for girls to understand they have a place in the construction industry, and they can become successful leaders in the future.
  • Develop a stronger workforce for the future of the construction industry. ​

Jon Lattin, president of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chapter of CSI, and Kristen Fallon, regional vice president of member services of Eastern PA ABC, have led the creation and collaborative organizational efforts for this annual camp. Each year, the event has attracted more sponsors, volunteers, and campers.

The camp is structured in such a way that the girls experience many different trades, visit area offices of architects, engineers, and contractors, and tour manufacturing facilities that make building products. This gives the campers a well-rounded view of the industry, and the many different careers that are included within it.