By Sanjana Shah, Girls Innovate! Teen Committee
I arrived on June 26, 2014 and, in just a few minutes, realized that the teaching and mentoring strategy of this camp was totally different than any programming camps I had ever mentored at before.
Not only powerful frameworks like Meteor, Bootstrap and Foundation were used, this camp focused on team work and building relationships. The emphasis was not just on empowering kids in web programming, but to make them interested in these web technologies. There were ukulele, games, jokes and snacks. Kids in this camp were not from elementary school. They were middle and high school students and many of them were older than me. They were all connected by one goal – to learn, come up with original ideas of their own and build something they wanted to build.
Another important part of this camp were the hackathons, where the students collaborated intensively on software projects and demo’d these projects at the end. Each student had his/her moment to pitch an idea, build a team, and take his/her product to the market. Mentors and Stanford students were on standby to help with every aspect of the program.
Both CodeCamp and Girls Innovate! have taught me new leadership skills and, most importantly, self-confidence. Being a mentor made me realize how to approach these students and give them hints and not answers. This was one of the most lively programming camp at which I have mentored, where kids shared their thoughts, asked questions openly and, best of all, had fun. I laughed, learned and really enjoyed being part of this program. Thanks to Shadi, Rafael and Patricia for making the opportunity possible!