The Game of Life: Tile and Carpentry Edition
Spring time seems to be a very busy time for everyone. College students are getting ready to graduate, gardeners are preparing their seedlings, and everyone is preparing for warmer weather. Welch Tile also has a fun spring tradition that we prepare for every year: MiCareerQuest! Every year, West Michigan Works puts together this incredibly valuable and immersive career exploration day for local middle and high school students. This was Welch Tile’s fifth year participating. For our fifth year, we did something quite different in teaming up with the Carpentry exhibit for an extra-large booth!
We partnered with Ritsema Associates on the planning and execution of the space. It was determined that there would be four total activities, each one a slightly more advanced position than the last, with a pathway running through the space for the students to sign their names and leave their mark! The theme of the booth: Boardgames!
The very first activity represented our Apprentice Setter position and was developed with the tile industry in mind. Playing off the Chinese puzzle, the Tangram, there were tiles cut into various simple, geometric shapes, which first had to fit into a 12” by 12” wooden frame then fit together to create some sort of creature, such as a vulture or fish. Then to add some extra excitement to the puzzle, we allowed the students to race their friends!
The second activity was for the Carpentry/ Journeyman level and was run by the carpentry field workers. Much like Simon, the memory game introduced in 1978, the students had a chance to shoot pins through metal tracks into a concrete slab. Only here, the had to follow the color sequence shown on the card they saw.
Our third activity was our art piece that gave a small taste of what a job as a Designer could entail. We decided on creating a large scale tile mosaic that showed two of the most well known Clue suspects, Miss Scarlet and Professor Plum! Developing on the very popular “paint by numbers” style paintings, this piece was our “tile by numbers”! There were a total of 16 different colored tiles that were smashed into small pieces and then installed in the space with the corresponding number. Once finished, this piece will be donated to West Michigan Works! Keep an eye on Welch Tile’s social media platforms for continued updates on this exciting project.
The last activity gave a taste of what a Foreman would do. The activity began with students being instructed to lay out four shapes on a gridded board to match the pattern on the card in front of them, similarly to how the game Blokus is played. The students would then repeat the process with a different card. At the end, they were presented with a small blue-print of an apartment building with wall layouts matching the formations that they had just created!
Since we knew there were many activities for the students to participate in, we wanted to create a unique take away for every activity. We developed our own version of Monopoly money, which we named Construction Cash! There was a different Construction Cash for each activity with a bit of information about the job the student had just experienced, such as the education background suggested and a few basic tasks. The number on the Construction Cash also increased through the activities, signifying a raise with the more senior positions.
We also wanted to allow the students to leave a mark on our booth as well! So, we created a game board pathway through the whole booth out of blueprint paper. There were signs at the entrance and exit points asking “What is your favorite game?”. The students were handed a marker and encouraged to write their answer and sign their name somewhere on the path. By then end of the day, we had a colorful and unique (albeit a bit dirty) path running through the booth!
This day is one of the most exhausting and rewarding days of the year! We always love participating in this incredible event and are so appreciative of the kind people in our industries who take time out of their day to volunteer in our booth! This year, we’d like to extend our gratitude to Ritsema Associates, Tradesmen International, Genesee Tile, Bouma Corporation, Handorn, and our in house volunteers! We were able to put together a short video showcasing each activity to show case the day! Enjoy and we’ll see you next year!