Camp Innovation

June 12, 2017 | no comments

The U.S. Labor Department has estimated that there will be 1.4 million job openings for computer-related occupations in this decade. Of the STEM fields, computer science and computer engineering have the highest median earnings for recent college graduates and the sector is rapidly growing. However at the current time, only 12% of these jobs are held by women. 74% of young girls show interest in STEM fields, yet only 3% of them go on to pursue a degree in STEM. These statistics are just as depressing for minorities.  The first step to addressing the problem is to provide exposure to as many of the components of STEM as possible. Many kids do not know what a computer scientist is or does, and certainly do not understand the economic opportunity that STEM occupations provide.

Tech Birmingham’s mission is to grow and promote the tech ecosystem in the region. As part of our mission, we started developing coding programs for kids ages 8 and up in an effort to cultivate interest in coding among girls and minorities and to develop our regional workforce.

In the last year over 1200 kids have attended our monthly coding club or one of our workshops focused on connecting industry professionals with children interested in STEM careers.

Last December TechBirmingham held our first Kids Code-a-Thon. For this event 63 kids between the ages of 11 – 17 years old were brought together to form a team, develop an idea based on “making Birmingham a better place,” develop a MVP (minimum viable product) and present it to a team of judges. Daxko, local tech company generously provided the space for the event and over 20 volunteers from local companies provided instruction and coaching to help the kids develop their ideas.

The event was such a great success we decided to extend it to one week, bring in industry professionals and local companies to teach campers how to create a working app over the course of the week.

Camp Innovation is open to kids entering the 6th-8th grade in the fall who are interested in learning to program, design a product, and learn leadership/team collaboration skills.

These kids are the future of our community, by giving them the knowledge to excel in the tech industry we are laying the foundation for the next generation of innovators. Investing our time and resources into these young minds is essential to the growth of the tech industry in Birmingham.

We are looking for companies interested in providing volunteers for the week, financial assistance for scholarships, and to share tech industry experience with the campers.  One local church has provided scholarships for seven children from their congregation.

The Head Counselor for Camp Innovation is  Vinny Chiaramonte, the Hoover City Schools teacher of the year from 2016-2017, and Bumpus Computer Science teacher.  We still are seeking volunteers who have coding experience, design experience, and even project management skills to assist the kids with their projects during the week. We also need sponsors to fund food and beverages, t-shirts and supplies.

To contact us, email or call us at (205) 918-7515 for any questions you may have, to volunteer as a sponsor, or to provide scholarships.

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