On August 2, while the girls at PYC Edstone were busy participating in various activities, 2B headed for the circle driveway to join 1B for their first car maintenance class.
With cheers and shouts emanating from the distant basketball court, the two boys dorms—18 boys in all—eagerly strode onto the damp pavement in front of Edstone Hall. They were greeted by staff member Derek Palmer, assistant Ronald Staal and several parked cars. The two experienced staff members were ready to share a few pages from their masculine book of knowledge about cars with the boys, and the boys were ready listeners. The cars didn’t have an opinion.
As a few stray drops of condensation fell from the gray clouds above, the boys were given a basic overview of the different parts of the car. Mr. Palmer instructed all present on the importance of maintaining car tires. They were also shown beneficial techniques such as jacking up a car, draining and changing the oil, and replacing brake pads. By the end, they had drained the oil from two of the vehicles and changed a total of three tires from two cars.
Learning how to change the tires on this drizzly day was a hit with the attendees, and it offered the campers a real life experience as well, since, “it is usually always raining and miserable when your car breaks down and you need to change your tire,” according to 2B counselor Emmanuel Michels.
Mr. Michels loved that the class gave the campers hands-on experience, and the campers thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity as well. “They loved getting greasy hands,” he said.
Staff member Edwin Trebels was also able to participate in the maintenance class. He is a proud owner of a hybrid Toyota Prius, and he was able to explain the process of how the car’s engine and battery work together to save energy. He described the advantages and disadvantages of owning a hybrid and how to fix a battery when there are problems.
The class offered a priceless chance for the boys to learn valuable skills while bonding with their counselors and each other. They left a little wiser in the ways of basic car maintenance, readily prepared for the inevitable “rainy and miserable day” to present itself. Next up on their schedule was to hustle to the marquee for lunch, where they would share their newfound knowledge with their buddies—and explain why they had gravel and dirt all over their legs and shorts.