Our Builder Bootcamp program is a week-long, half-day summer camp for girls and gender-expansive youth entering 5th-8th grades! Our work together focus on skill-building and a few take-home wood and metal projects that combine creative construction skills and design challenges in response to social challenges. Led by our team of dedicated female and nonbinary staff, who are carpenters, architects, graphic designers, and lifelong educators, students will learn and apply skills in carpentry, graphic design, metalwork, collaboration, and teamwork. Each day, the cohort of students will be split into two sub-groups, one group working on building activities downstairs in our shop space, and one group working on art activities in our upstairs classroom. Halfway through the day’s programming, the groups switch, so that each student has time both in the workshop and art studio each day. Over the course of the week, students will work on and complete individual and collective projects in multiple media: wood, metal, printmaking, and more. Our instructional pedagogy draws upon decades of experience teaching creative and building-based content. We prioritize safety, socio-emotional well-being, one-to-one support, and practicing bravery together. One snack per day will be provided, and students are encouraged to bring their own additional snacks and water bottle if preferred. Registration cost includes all materials, t-shirt, and of course the final products to take home!
We enroll 18 students (rising 5th-8th grade) per weekly session on a random lottery basis (see calendar below). Full and partial scholarships are available (scholarship application is included in the lottery application).
Sample Weekly Schedule and Daily Themes:
Community-building, safety trainings and warmup mini-project in the woodshop, screenprinting t-shirts
Morning circle, cutting all materials (saws) in woodshop, begin sketching for risograph prints (art studio)
Morning circle, assembly of projects (drills and drivers) in woodshop, prototyping and initial risograph printing of art project
Morning circle, sanding, painting, finishing building project, assembly and final printing of art project
Morning circle, open maker time to finish projects, parent presentation and celebration
Sample Daily Schedule:
- 9:00 – 9:30am
Morning circle and check-in, quickfire community-building game
- 9:30 – 10:45am
Work session 1 (half of students in workshop, half of students in art studio)
- 10:45 – 11:00am
- 11:00am – 12:15pm
Work session 2 (half of students in workshop, half of students in art studio)
- 12:15 – 12:30pm
Reflection circle and appreciation
Annual Registration and Lottery Schedule:
- February 1
Lottery applications open online. The application form will include an opportunity to apply for scholarships. Siblings must submit separate applications, and those with guaranteed spots from 2020 must also submit a new application.
- February 15
Lottery applications DUE by 5:00pm, after which Girls Garage staff will conduct a random lottery drawing for each week of camp
- February 20
Rosters posted online and notifications sent (will include 12 wait list spots per week)
- February 28
Payment and online waivers must be received in order to secure summer camp spot
Lottery Application and Program FAQ:
Q: How do I submit an application for Builder Bootcamp?
A: We will have a link to an online application (Google Form) on this webpage from February 1-15th. All applications must be submitted online within the application window.
Q: I’ve been to Girls Garage before. Does my daughter get any kind of preference?
A: Unfortunately, no. All girls, whether new or returning, will be entered into the same lottery drawing.
Q: How hard is it to get in via the lottery? Can’t you just add more sessions?
A: We’ll be honest, historically it has been hard to get into this program! Last year, we received 100 applications for 36 spots. You might be wondering, “why can’t they just add another session or enroll more students?” These are totally valid questions. Please know, however, that we run three additional programs during the summer for other age groups of students, so our summer schedule is full. We also maintain a small-ish cohort of students (18 per week) for safety reasons and our ability to use a manageable number of power tools with maximum hands-on support. We don’t operate like one of the giant summer camps, and relationships between students and teachers are paramount. We know from experience that our cohort size helps support meaningful culture-building, support, and bonding between students and with students and staff.
Q: I have multiple children who want to attend. Can they apply together and attend together?
A: We’re asking that all girls, including siblings, submit separate applications. We’ll also treat them as individual applicants who may or may not be selected from the lottery to attend together.
Q: My child is going into 4th grade but is very mature. Can she attend?
A: Unfortunately, no. We have changed our age group a bit in order to better serve a more specific range of social and emotional growth. This helps our teaching staff develop lesson plans that can be differentiated across a reasonable spectrum of learners, and also helps students support each other and connect through common experience. Students must be rising 5th, 6th, 7th, or 8th graders for the 2023-2024 academic year.
Q: What kind of information do I need for the application?
A: The application will only basic information, including name, date of birth, address and contact info for parent(s)/guardian(s) and emergency contacts, medical info, and optional demographic information.
Q: I need financial assistance. Can I still apply for a scholarship?
A: Yes! Our scholarship application will be embedded in the lottery application. We don’t ask you for tax returns or supporting documentation, but we ask that families report their income and financial need honestly and not ask for more support than necessary, so that we can provide the most financial aid to the families in greatest need. If you have attended before and paid full tuition, we ask that you do the same this summer unless there are new extenuating circumstances. We offer full, partial, and “pay what you can” scholarships. Applicants who require financial assistance will be entered into the same lottery as everyone else, with no preference given to either scholarship or non-scholarship applicants.
Q: How can I indicate which week(s) my child is able to attend?
A: In the application, we will ask which of the 2 weeks you are able to attend. You may select one or both weeks. Please note that selecting both weeks will not increase your chances of being selected, as we will select names from the entire list of applicants, and then sort girls based on availability. As such, please only select weeks for which you can commit to attending, because once assigned, we cannot accommodate schedule changes or switching to another week.
Q: Can you provide after-care?
A: Unfortunately, no. We open our doors at 9am and we ask families to pick up promptly at 12:30pm. We won’t charge you by the minute, like some other camps, but we do ask that you respect our instructors’ prep time by arriving by 12:30pm. We use the afternoon time to prepare materials and conduct tool maintenance in advance of the next day of programming.
Q: My child got a spot but now I need to switch sessions. Can I transfer to another week?
A: Unfortunately, no. In our lottery process, which takes place in February, we ask you to select only the dates for which you know your child can attend. We cannot accommodate transfers after rosters have been posted. Thank you for understanding; as a small administrative staff of three, we cannot contact a roster of families from another week to see if someone can switch, nor can we over-enroll beyond the set enrollment limit, particularly during COVID when the city limits cohort sizes.
Q: My child got a spot but we have to cancel. Can we defer to next year?
A: Unfortunately, no. Because of the demand for our program and the use of a lottery system as the most egalitarian way to offer spots to families, we cannot roll over your spot to next summer. The only exception to this rule is if there is an emergency event (like a pandemic!) that forces us to cancel the program entirely or significantly modify its format, in which case guaranteed spots would be extended to those whose spots were cancelled/modified by the organization.
Q: I have a question that wasn’t answered here. Who can I talk to?
A: Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any other questions!
Q: What is the refund/cancellation policy for this program?
A: If you need to cancel your camper’s registration, refunds will be applied as follows: Full (100%) refund if registration is canceled BEFORE May 1, 2023; Half (50%) refund if registration is canceled between May 1 and June 15, 2023, NO refund if after June 15, 2023.