Ag Students Hone Construction, Equipment Skills with Service-Learning Project
October 30, 2013
MACOMB, IL -- Thanks to a group of Western Illinois University School of Agriculture students, Camp Allendale, a Christian camp and retreat center in Trafalgar, IN, now has 12 Adirondack chairs for the campers and retreat goers to enjoy. According to WIU School of Ag Assistant Professor Bart Gill, the production of the chairs came about as the result the camp's executive director contacting him earlier this year.
"In Fall 2012, Dr. Andy Baker [interim chair of the WIU School of Ag] and the students in his agricultural shop skills course, AGTM 368, conducted a service-learning project and built 12 Adirondack Chairs for a local camp. After the project was completed, a press release was produced, and Christi Reed, a WIU employee, read the release and told her father, Randy Pim, the executive director of Camp Allendale, about what the students did for a local camp. Randy then contacted me about making Adirondack chairs for his camp," he explained.
Gill said the project for Camp Allendale served as the initial group project for the class in Fall 2013. The goal of the course is to teach students skills and competencies in construction processes in such areas as equipment identification and maintenance, masonry (concrete), carpentry, welding and plumbing. The initial Adirondack-chair project enabled his students to work in groups on the first woodworking assignment.
"Working in groups helped boost the confidence in some students who did not have as much experience working with carpentry tools and equipment as others in the class," Gill said. "This project allowed my students to gain more hands-on experience with reading plans and working with carpentry tools, as well as helped them hone their team-building skills. And we were able to help out Camp Allendale in the process."
Gill said he would like to complete a service-learning project each year with the students who enroll in his AGTM 368 course.
"I plan to include a lesson during my lectures about what service learning is and the benefits of completing projects such as this," he noted. "Randy is strongly considering partnering with us next year for another set of chairs."
For more information, contact Gill at BE-Gill@wiu.edu.