Exposing Kids to New Possibilities – App Camp for Girls
This week we got to take Lazaro’s little sister to App Camp for Girls. It’s a weeklong camp run by female developers that teaches 8th & 9th grade girls how to build a mobile app. The goal of the camp is to expose girls to technology, build their confidence, and empower them to try new things. The coaches, instructors, speakers and judges are all volunteers. The experience was absolutely transformative.
We got up super early, commuted over an hour each way, and she was there early and stayed late – meaning it was 10+ hour day each day. I thought she’d come home and pass out since she loves to sleep in the summer. But NO! She couldn’t wait to tell us every detail of all the cool stuff she’d learned and experienced that day!
She told us about her team, how they made decisions, how they came to consensus, how they learned how to make things, how she got to fix a bug, how she learned how to be specific in her words… so many things! She told me about four different experiences she had while on a fieldtrip to Oculus where she tried out the virtual reality goggles and games. She tried yoga for the first time. She told us how it took many different people with many different types of jobs to build a mobile game (designer, UX, developers, etc). She learned that you start building an app in Xcode on a laptop. She learned hotkeys.
Her team built a quiz app that will be in the app stores soon. Her quiz tells you if you’re a couch potato – it’s infused with humor, digital art and drawings. She presented to mock VCs and answered questions on the fly in front of 50 people. She also presented at my company.
Moral of the story: she freaking rocked it! Had a blast, and made lots of friends.
The robotics class that she didn’t love in 8th grade suddenly was something she had in common with some of the other campers, something that became cooler.
It was absolutely incredible to see how many new things she was exposed to. I’ve never heard her talk so much! We had awesome conversations inspired by talks and technology she was learning about. I’ve never her so laugh so much, to be so comfortable in her own skin around me. Poop jokes, pranks, you name it.
I don’t know if she’ll become an engineer or a mobile developer, and honestly that isn’t the point. What I hope she learned is how awesome it is to learn new things, and that it’s ok to try something out and not be great at it at first. It’s the process that maters, it’s not all about the A. Perfection is not the goal. It’s ok, and important to fail, because that is how we learn. I want to encourage her curiosity and expose her to new ways to think.
She is beautiful, witty, smart, and kind. She’s incredibly grateful and appreciative of opportunities. I’m so excited to see where her journey takes her!
Thank you App Camp for Girls: I’m extremely grateful for the team who put this camp on, for the vision of the founding team, and all the volunteers, and sponsors who made it possible.