Refresh The Triangle and Durham County Library are teaming up to sponsor a Teen Tech Camp led by the Triangle’s very own Julia Elman and Sarah Kahn. Julia and Sarah came up with the idea after a push for new opportunities by Refresh members to volunteer and give back to the community. Inspired by Young Coders Tutorials at Pycon and other similar events, they sat down to create Teen Tech Camp and tackle this education disparity locally.
In its second year, the Teen Tech Camp’s core mission is to educate and inspire children between the ages of 12-18 on computer science and technology. The camp provides a much-needed opportunity for teens to learn basic foundations of computer programming using Python and also serves to spark their interest in learning.
Local sponsors include: Adzerk, Caktus Group, Splatspace, Triangle Ecycling, Verified Studios, and TriPython, just to name a few. This year the camp will be held at the Southwest branch of the Durham County Library next week on August 13th from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
“It’s our job as computer programmers to prepare the next generation for the tech-centric future they are inevitably going to face,” said Julia.
The camp last year focused on fundamentals of web design, such as CSS, HTML, and design principles. This year, through a generous donation by the Python Software Foundation, each of the 20 children will be given books, resources, and their very own Raspberry Pi to take home with them after the day long camp.
The Raspberry Pi is a credit card sized ARM-based computer on a single board. It was created with a singular mission to help kids around the world learn to program. Since its launch in 2012, over 1.2 million units have shipped worldwide as of April 2013. It serves as a worldwide learning tool for teachers and enthusiasts to spread computer science to the next generation. Worldwide support has catapulted the project from a tinkering device to a real supplement to everyday computers.
The curriculum the camp is using was developed by a local Triangle developer, Kurt Grandis, the Director of Tech at Pruvop. He helped to put the course material together and created specialized SD card loads for the Raspberry Pis with all of the material on it for the kids to take home.
The curriculum will also be open-sourced and available for forking off of GitHub after the camp’s conclusion if anyone else wants to re-purpose the material for their own camp.
Julia and Sarah’s vision does not stop at an annual Teen Tech Camp: they want the program to get bigger.
“The next generation of technology users need to be developers and creators, not just consumers of applications,” said Julia.
Expanding the concept and getting more organizations and volunteers behind them locally is in the camp’s future. They see the idea turning into a monthly program, after school club, or something similar. Another initiative is to host the camp next year in Raleigh or elsewhere in the Triangle.
If you want more information about the upcoming camp, reach out to Julia Elman via e-mail .