3…2…1… let the games begin! Monday kicked off the first day of our Girls Learning Code summer camp located in downtown Toronto at Mozilla’s beautiful community space. This week 40 lucky girls get to spend each day with these 20 amazing women. This 2:1 ratio is just one of the things we are doing to try to make this summer camp the very best experience possible.
The 40 campers have been put into eight groups for the week. Keeping with the game design theme, each team is named after a video game character: Team Mario, Team Sonic, Team Peach, Team Pikachu, team Zelda, Team Kirby, Team Yoshi, and Team Luigi. Each team has created a unique logo which we’ve ironed onto t-shirts that the girls get to wear and keep!
On Monday, after a couple fin ice breakers, we got into our first lesson, led by Miriam Verburg. The girls learned all about game mechanics and components (obstacles, setting, character, rule, actions, and goals), through a fun scavenger hunt activity. Groups then worked to brainstorm ideas to design their very own game! They will be working on their games in their teams throughout the week.
At the end of each day, the eight groups will be presenting their game’s progress! The girls have certainly come up with some crazy and creative games: one features a monkey trying to save her boyfriend from an evil parrot, another is about a popsicle looking for free(ze)dom. Other game topics include a runaway breakfast, and another is about Justin Bieber saving Jennifer Lopez (camp wouldn’t be the same without Justin).
The tool we are using throughout the week to create these games is called Stencyl. It comes with great built-in presets that allow users to easily create obstacles, characters, actions, and more! The girls received an awesome crash course in Stencyl from Cecily Carver before diving in and creating their very first games.
Lunch in the park and brainstorming sessions on the gorgeous roof of 401 Richmond makes for a week full of variety and stimulation.
Of course, Girls Learning Code is about more than just code! We’re playing a lot of fun games to get to know each other. For example, on the first day, pencil cases were distributed, each with 40 of the same colour marker or crayon. Campers then had to mingle around the room and trade with each other to get a full rainbow set. The catch? Before a trade can be made, you had to say your name and a fact about yourself.
Armed with new markers and crayons, laptops provided by Planet Geek, amazing leaders and bright, inspirational venues, the teams are working hard to build their very own games for the first time. Yesterday we started creating characters and backgrounds for our games and in the coming days we’ll be adding behaviours and sounds. To see the final result, stay tuned for our blog post at the end of the week!
And don’t forget, follow along with all the Girls Learning Code fun follow our hashtag on Twitter – #girlslearningcode.