With a daughter going into the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field, I know how important it is to start kids off early with exposure to STEM topics and concepts. Nurture that love and passion from an early age! Enter CoderDojoKC. I got in touch with Program Director Bill Ayakatubby to find out what makes this program so cool.
What is the name of your group?
What is your name and what is your role in the group?
Bill Ayakatubby, Program Director
How would you describe your group?
We teach kids how to be code ninjas, from the basics of logic to Unity and robotics.
When was the group founded?
How long have you been a member, and what made you want to join the group?
Since Oct 2013. I started out helping Jennifer Wadella (president and founder of Kansas City Women in Technology) get the program off the ground. I stayed because I enjoy helping the kids.
How big is the group?
60 ninjas and 8 mentors on average
How often do you meet?
On the second Saturday of each month, except December
Where do you meet?
What do you do at meetings?
The kids start off with typing lessons, then we open the session with awards for previous projects that earned high marks. A couple of hours of work time, then they show off what they did that day. They’re evaluated, and the scores are recorded for next time.
What do you love about the group?
I love helping the kids and seeing their “Eureka!” moments. Encouraging them to present their projects helps build their confidence, and we’ve had some shy kids really come out of their shells.
Tell us about a particularly memorable moment in the group.
The first time one of our ninjas hacked a Flash game so he could have infinite lives and jump crazy high. The kids were impressed, and the mentors—not to mention the ninja himself! I couldn’t have been prouder.
What future plans lay ahead for the group?
We’ve gone through a lot of trial and error, but we’re in a pretty stable place right now. We’ll continue to iterate and evolve the program, taking cues from both our attendees and the global CoderDojo community.
Where can someone find more information about your group?
Anything else you’d like to share?
We’re always looking for mentors. You don’t even need to know how to program! If you can google, you can help.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: Do you have a child interested in technology? What local groups do they participate in? Give a shoutout to helpful programs with a comment below!