It is time to stop playing those games, and to start making them. I’m stoked to share a new event that I will be doing with some help from the Games Forum in both Boston and NYC for kids between the ages of 6-13 called Young Game Makers. It is a one day event with all proceeds going to two great non-profits: Girls Who Code and Mouse. In spirit, it’s a free event. We decided to charge and then donate the proceeds to ensure attendance because free events see so much dropoff.
We will spend a full day teaching kids how to make games and end it by having those who want to, demo what they made and opening that up to the public. Volunteers from a variety of game creation disciplines including design, development and script writing, will help teach, mentor and inspire kids to become young game makers. A few different types of game creation tools and frameworks will be taught to address the age and learning ranges.
The goal of this event is to expose youth to coding and game concepts through game making but most importantly, to have fun creating a game. Hardware will always be an issue, so participants are responsible to bring their own laptop to the workshop.
I am reaching out to various communities to find some volunteers to include a good combination of different skill sets – from illustration right to game theory – to really round out the experience for the kids. If you have time to volunteer for either November 8th in Boston, or November 15th in NYC, please sign up here!
I started this primarily because working with kids can be amazingly rewarding and re-energizing. I am looking forward to seeing what they create, what tangents they follow or even lead, and be amazed by how naturally positive and supportive they can be to each other. I’m hoping to see a lot of pair programming between parents and children too.
I also started this because as important as it may be to teach kids how to code these days, it is equally as important to teach them about respect. The best way I can be a woman in technology is to not only show up and represent to younger girls that this is a viable choice for a profession, but to also show younger boys that very same thing. It as important for a little girl to see a woman in this type of role, as it is for a little boy. We have a mix of female and male instructors and volunteers for these events for that exact reason.
I am also hoping to get some sponsorship for the event – maybe a company wants to cover lunch? Maybe they want to send a group of employees to volunteer? However it happens, I’ll take what I can get. Right now, it’s brown bag event where everyone needs to bring their lunch, but perhaps some sponsors can change that.
Want to help but can’t attend? Contribute to our assets library so that the kids can easily personalize their game. Spritesheets, illustrations, sound fx – all welcome. Please contact me via twitter if you are interested in helping out.
For more details on the event – please see the Young Game Makers website. I hope to see you all there!