Camp H is a one-of-a-kind design and building camp for girls ages 9-13 that inspires creativity and curiosity through hands-on building, problem-solving, and meaningful making. In both summer and after-school programs, girls will cut plywood with a jigsaw, fuse metal with a welder, and create projects of personal and social relevance. Camp H’s instructors are female architects, designers, creative educators, and graduates of our Studio H high school design/build program.
Integrating science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) skills, Camp H projects build confidence, grit, and the belief that everything is possible in life and in the world. Camp H camp “graduates” will be equipped to communicate audacious ideas through their creative voice, transform their communities through active building, and go forth confidently into higher education and careers.
Camp H girls work towards a 13-module Fearless Builder Girl certification, earning badges for each module/skill: Carpentry, Welding, Masonry, Electronics, Fix-It, Architecture, Design, Engineering, Graphics, Digital, Service, Leadership, and Thesis Project.
Fall 2016: New classes in our new space!!
This fall, we will expand our course offerings in a brand new 3600-square-foot space in West Berkeley! Our after-school program will operate 4 days per week for Fall, Winter, and Spring sessions. Registration will open the first week of August 2016. In the meantime, here is our course schedule so that you can plan accordingly!
Mondays: Community Design/Build Projects
September 19 – November 7 (8 weeks), 4:30 – 6:00pm
Tuesdays: Metal 2 – Soldering and Detailed Metalworking
September 20 – November 8 (8 weeks), 4:30 – 6:00pm
Wednesdays: Lab Class – Screenprinting
September 21 – November 9 (8 weeks), 4:30 – 6:00pm
Thursdays: Wood 1 – Hand Tools
September 22 – November 10 (8 weeks), 5:00 – 6:30pm
We want girls to attend Camp H regardless of their ability to pay. Each year, many of girls come to Camp H with full or partial scholarships. Scholarships are limited, but we will do what we can to accommodate as many families as possible. Please download our scholarship form here and send it to Emily Pilloton, camp director, email@example.com.
Our all-female staff
At Camp H, learning how to weld is just as important as learning how to solve problems, make new friends, be strong young women, and be leaders in our own lives and communities. As such, our all-female staff is a group of women whose experience and love exemplify the amazing qualities we seek to grow in our campers. Read our camp staff bios here.
Summer 2016, Community Design/Build, Field Trips, Women in STEM Workshops
During our first two weeks of summer camp, girls collaborated with and build furniture for the Women’s Daytime Drop-In Center, a Berkeley-based social service and residential facility providing free services to homeless women and their children. Campers learned or improved their carpentry, welding, and design skills by working in small groups and individually, and through focused instruction by our all-female staff of educators and builders. We also learned Adobe Illustrator in order to produce and laser-etch vector graphics onto small wooden picture frames and boxes for the women at the center. During our third week of camp, we traveled to local design firms, fabrication facilities, woodshops, universities, and organizations that are engaged in cutting-edge and socially minded creative work (some examples include Ideo, Method Home, the UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design Fabrication Shop, Other Machine, and more). We also hosted some incredible female STEM leaders, including Ali Ent from Lenovo, who disassembled a CPU computer with girls!
Spring 2016, Maker Mash-Up!
Over this 8 week session, girls will combine multiple skills, tools, scales, and media to complete 4 small design/build projects. We will cut wood, pick locks, fuse metal or etch with lasers, and more. For girls who are new to building or advanced girls with experience in our shop, these projects will encourage creativity and craft.
Winter 2016, Engineering
Over this 8 week session, girls will apply math, science, and engineering concepts to build a tetrahedron kite and a mouse trap car. Through an understanding of geometry, structures, aerodynamics, velocity, and more, girls will use multiple construction methods and materials to bring their projects to life! This course will be taught by Allison Oropallo and Emily Pilloton, with the assistance of one high school and one middle school junior counselor.
Fall 2015, “Build Your Own Skateboard”
In this advanced class, girls learned Adobe Illustrator and laser-etched designs onto skateboard veneers, then pressed veneers using a vacuum press to make their own skateboards. They completed the process by using their existing carpentry skills to install hardware, apply grip tape, sand and route edges, and clear-coat. And, we all learned how to skateboard!
Fall 2015, “Woodcraft”
Over this 8 week session, girls used precision woodworking tools (coping saws and more!) to create well-crafted small wood projects including a working wall clock and a gumball machine. This session was led by Allison Oropallo, design tech / shop teacher at Terra Linda High School, who has 15+ years of experience building with youth.
Winter 2015, “Architecture Studio”
In this 8-week long studio experience, Camp H girls learn the basics of architectural practice, taking a design from drafting board to construction site. We examine beautiful and brilliant architectural precedents from around the world, learn how to draft plan, section, and elevation drawings, build scale models in chipboard and cardboard, and use construction documents to construct a full-scale structure. Girls combine their design and building knowledge within an architectural context and earn their Architecture and Design badges.
Winter 2015, “Board Game Design for Social Change”
Over the course of 8 weeks, Camp H girls collaborate to develop board games for social change. Inspired by the “serious games” movement, this workshop emphasizes the principles of game design and the implications of games for education and problem-solving. We began by analyzing precedents to understand how players learn and develop empathy from game-based interactions. After identifying and studying a social issue, girls learn basic graphic and communication design principles to prototype and produce a board game using multiple materials. Camp H girls earn their Leadership, Graphics, and Design badges.
Fall 2014, “Electric Textiles”
This ain’t your mama’s sewing class! From talking toys to glowing t-shirts, soft circuits allow us to experiment with electronics in new ways. Using materials like conductive fabric, sewable LEDs and circuit stickers, girls will make physical projects ranging from interactive costumes and birthday cards to blinky puppets. The process will involve tinkering, imagination and lots of radical textiles! Girls will develop new skills in sewing, electronics and programming, and no experience is required. Upon completion of the Electric Textiles session, girls will earn their Electronics module badge.
Fall 2014, “Introduction to Building / Advanced Certifications”
Over the course of 8 weeks, Camp H girls will learn and practice mastery in masonry, welding, and carpentry. There will be multiple projects to take home, and opportunities to design and create objects in many media that hold personal and community significance. We’ll also make academic connections to mathematics, material science, local socioeconomics, and more. This session will give first-time campers a primer on an array of tools and techniques, and more advanced challenges for returning campers. All campers will earn their Carpentry, Masonry, and Welding badges.
Summer 2014, “I Can Build Love in My Community”
Girls designed and built four pieces of furniture and an outdoor playhouse for the Women’s Daytime Drop-In Center, a local safe haven which offers free services to homeless women and their children. As a group we spoke with our client, designed, sketched, prototyped, built, and delivered the pieces in two weeks. Along the way, girls learned skills in woodworking, welding, fabrication, and masonry to design a meaningful project for their community, to work in multiple materials, and bring ideas to life. Campers will earn their Carpentry, Masonry, Welding, and Service badges.
Winter 2014, “I Can Fix Anything!”
In this design/build after-school camp, girls learned to use hand and power tools, basic electrical equipment, and automotive instruments to fix the things that need repair, installation, and maintenance in our everyday lives. Coupled with core-subject math and science concepts, we tinkered, experimented, built, and repaired. Each week we took on a different repair task so that our girls become confident to tackle everyday problems. Girls will earn their Fix-It badges.
Summer 2013, “I can chop wood and fuse metal”
In our first summer session, girls learned basic carpentry, welding, and metalworking tools to design and build a Mondrian-inspired birdhouse, their own hand-engraved ruler, and steel symbol that represented their family history. In addition to building activities, girls engaged in small excursions, community building, and applied academics.