By Evan Leahy
On Saturday, March 5, Whatcom Community College hosted the annual “Guys and Guts” workshop.
Twenty middle school aged boys attended the day-long workshop. Attendees were encouraged to bring a parent or guardian, which about two thirds of attendees did.
The day’s activities began with a check-in and welcome at 9 a.m. followed by a series of hands-on labs in which students had an opportunity to gain first-hand experience with possible professions in the medical field. These labs were separated by profession into “Medical Assisting,” “Nursing” and “Physical Therapy Assistant”, each with its own set of activities.
In Physical Therapy Assistant, participants were able to experience paraffin wax therapy, saw models of muscular and skeletal systems and were given an idea of the kinds of classes that were required for the Whatcom Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA) program. Whatcom PTA program student Jake Gates spoke about his path to the program and why it spoke to him. He highlighted that it meant getting to be an active part of the recovery process for people, saying “one of our biggest jobs is to help teach other people how to get better.”
The Medical Examining lab had included a chance to draw fake blood from a mannequin arm, an examination of germs on hands leftover after washing and a demonstration of an electrocardiogram (EKG).
Brent Bultsma said his son, Trent, had brought home a flier from Fairhaven Middle School that sounded interesting. Trent said his favorite parts of the experience had been the “blood stuff, the wax and the staples,” but quickly added that his primary interest had been “the robots […] I heard about the robots,” talking about a robotic leg that was part of the Nursing lab.
Shirley Hiner was there with her grandson, a student at Lynden Middle School. She said she was impressed with the experience, saying that the workshop was “very well run.”
Hiner also pointed out how well the hands-on activities held the boys’ attention, adding that the workshop was “really good for this age.”
Heather Becha came with her son, a student at Fairhaven Middle School, and said that the event was also “great for breaking down gender norms.” She pointed out that nursing and related fields tend to be associated with women and events like this help counteract that stereotype.
Lunch for the participant and their accompanying guardian was included, followed by firefighters from the Bellingham Fire Department met the workshop at Kelly Hall to demonstrate electronic on a mannequin heart-attack victim. This was followed by a biology lab and a short “planning for college” session for parents while refreshments were served.
The workshop was put on with additional funding from The Kiwanis Club of Bellingham, The Bellingham Lion’s Club and the Carl D. Perkins Act. Whatcom also thanked Josh Burdick with Veritas Media Productions, Whatcom Medic One and the Bellingham Fire Department for their help with the event. The Whatcom Community College website has also announced that WCC plans to run the workshop again next year.
WCC will be hosting their annual “Girls Go Tech” workshop April 16. Continuing with Becha’s observed theme breaking down of gender stereotypes, junior-high aged girls are invited to attend the one-day workshop to learn more about careers in technology fields. Just as was the case with “Guys and Guts,” “Girls Go Tech” participants are encouraged to bring a parent or guardian. More information is available at Whatcom.edu or by calling (360) 383-3193.