ACE Greater Philadelphia is proud to welcome a new team to their affiliate! The Camden, NJ Team, led by Erica Anderson-Blaylock (City Invincible) and Ron Kerins (Greyhawk, ACE Board Vice-Chairman), formed when Kerins spearheaded the expansion effort of ACE Greater Philadelphia into New Jersey and brought City Invincible on board. Dedicated mentors from Oracle, Synergy Environmental, and Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating joined Greyhawk and City Invincible to provide practical knowledge of and exposure to the A/C/E industries.
“Forming this team relates to City Invincible’s mission to expand our connection to our local and larger community,” said Anderson-Baylock. “Our students like knowing that our work is local to Camden and enjoy hearing about what’s happening in their neighborhoods. They are able to personally connect with our projects because they find them to be relatable and relative to their daily experiences.”
The team, consisting of fifteen hardworking students from Mastery High School of Camden and the Kipp Cooper Norcross Academy, began meeting at City Invincible’s offices in January. “The students are intelligent, respectful young men and women. They are enjoying the opportunity to participate in A/C/E related activities at a professional office,” mentioned Anderson-Baylock. “They are extremely interested in the subject matter we present to them each week. It is satisfying to watch their lightbulbs go off as they work through a new concept.”
The team is currently exposing the students to various information each week which connect to a culminating project the students are expected to complete by May. Each session provides the students with a presentation on a different A/C/E discipline followed by a hands-on activity related to that topic.
A recent session was focused on discussing Planning and Urban Design. During this session, the students designed and built their own buildings and then worked together to develop a town.
The activity “Let’s Build a Town” was generously provided to the Camden Team for use from AIA-NJ. “Mentor Lauren Harris (City Invincible) volunteered at the NJ Kids Design Day last year and this was the activity they worked on. Lauren thought it would be the perfect activity for this session and was able to get all of the materials we needed to make the activity a success,” Anderson-Baylock explained.
The students learned the concept of scale, building elevations, and basic planning ideas such as building adjacencies. “You would have thought you were in a town planning board meeting when listening to the discussions that ensued during the placement of the buildings on the site,” Anderson-Baylock exclaimed. “At the end of the session, students were taking photos of the project and some wanted to know if they could build more the following week. It was apparent that they were impressed with their work and thoroughly enjoyed the activity!”