Education

Oh Wow! Brings Building Skills to Canfield Fair

By Lisa Solley

CANFIELD, Ohio – With a wide-eyed 4 year old looking on, the moment of truth had arrived for Ryan Englehardt.

He flipped the toggle switch and the red, soft foam fan blades turned and Owen Stivers and Englehardt smiled.

“That what’s it’s all about – the smiles,” said Englehardt, who works for Brilex Industries.

Vallourec Steel, Pennex Aluminum Company and Hynes Industries joined Brilex for the interactive activity in the Education Building at the Canfield Fair Thursday. The Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition partnered with Oh Wow! The Roger and Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology and the Mahoning Educational Service Center to host a “Make It, Take It” activity.

Owen, 4, ran to show his mom what he had made. “I think this is great to show kids about trades and skills,” Diana Stivers said. That is the response Englehardt was hoping for when creating the display with Ralf Urbach, director of education at the children’s science museum in downtown Youngstown.

“We want to expose kids to building things, skilled trades and manufacturing careers,” Englehardt said. “Events like this helps to promote local manufacturing.”

“Oh Wow preaches engagement, whether we can engage with a child, students, people around science,” Urbach said. “We also promote that it’s OK to fail, because then you modify. That’s how we all learn.”

Tables were full with kids watching, learning and helping to create the hand-held fans that were built using homemade materials. The Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition wanted to host the event to remind kids and parents how cool it is to make things and how that can translate to great careers in manufacturing.

Many of the children who stopped by the building at the Canfield Fair are regulars at Oh Wow. Their parents praise the center for offering great educational activities. Lillian Sheffield, 7, held her fan near dad’s face before heading out into the sunshine. Jarrod Sheffield, of Austintown, told his daughter that what she built will come in handy in the heat. 

“Obviously,”  Lillian replied as she turned to head for the door.

Pictured: Ryan Englehardt of Brilex Industries shows Owen Stivers, 4, his working fan. Brilex is part of the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition and helped to organize the event.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.