Press release: GRCC camp teaches woodworking craft to sixth- through eighth-graders



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications



UPDATE: There are no more open sections of camp as of 07/08/13.

June 24, 2013 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Grand Rapids Community College is offering sixth- through eighth-graders a unique summer camp.

GRCC’s Woodworking Camp has two sessions: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 8 through 11 or July 15 through 18. The cost is $50, and lunch is provided.

Campers will get to use a variety of tools in GRCC’s state-of-the-art labs at its Tassell M-TEC facility, 622 Godfrey Ave. SW. They’ll explore the world of woodworking and carpentry — and learn some math and science along the way.

“Our campers will know first-hand the satisfaction of taking a project from start to finish,” said Julie Parks, director of workforce training at GRCC. “They’ll get a chance to work with many different tools and materials and will get to see how something they imagine becomes a real, crafted piece.”

The camp is possible through the financial support of the Mable and Ray Petersen Master Craftsman Scholarship Fund. Ray Petersen discovered woodworking after he was essentially forced into retirement when the 1956 Hudsonville/Standale tornado leveled his weather-vane and ornamental house marker business. He started crafting birdhouses and then added other items. Eventually, the couple was shipping items crafted in the Early American style to purchasers nationwide.

When the Petersens were slowed by health challenges in 1991, they donated their inventory of unfinished pieces, woodcrafting materials, hand tools and a few original designs to GRCC. Students enrolled in GRCC Furniture Manufacturing and Finishing programs incorporated these donated items into their curriculum until 2001.

Mr. Petersen, who died in 1995, established the scholarship fund in memory of his wife, who passed away in 1992.

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for more than 30,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.