On a bright Monday morning, the week started off with over 20 apprehensive young women who had to make new friends after their parents had dropped them off for the day at the Girls Summer Webmaking Camp. Being introduced to the multitude of volunteer mentors who would be there to help them throughout the week, the girls, naturally, kept to themselves, sussing everybody out. Thankfully, that would not last. Come lunch, and the afternoon after that, the effects of the morning’s ice breakers and excitable mentors were helping make the girls feel as comfortable as possible.
Before we knew it, friendships were forming, familiarity was growing and more questions were being asked of each other, and the instructor. The camp had created a charm of it’s own. Each morning before we could even get settled, there would be numerous girls asking who the class’s choice of mentor and hero of the day was, drum rolls in tow before each one was called out.
We divided the girls into groups, where they had the opportunity to work in pairs on creating their own logos, coming up with causes, and conducting research to create numeric infographics on their causes. On top of creating initial skeletons of websites and discussing them, the girls also learned about collaborative work. As is normal with group dynamics, the girls manoeuvred working with their newfound friends while avoiding conflict, with the help of the mentors, as they identified the pros and cons of the myriad of choices they could make with their websites.
“My favourite part of camp was nothing…because I liked everything. Are you doing this next year? I am telling my mom, I want to come back next year!”
On Thursday, to help break the routine a little, we had the pleasure of going to the UBC SPIN Lab. The girls at our camp had the chance to demo and play around with some robots. Furry robots, rib-cage robots, and software that the girls could program to create varied vibration frequencies for the vibrating robot were just a few of the amazing aspects to the afternoon of demos. It was actually hard to try to get the girls to leave when it was time to, which is a great problem to have. That afternoon of demos would not have been possible without the UBC SPIN Lab –Thank you UBC SPIN Lab!
Friday afternoon came with a bitter-sweet feeling, as there was major excitement around the completion of the websites the girls had worked so dedicatedly on throughout the week, but the sombreness of everyone having to leave shortly after. Nonetheless, we enjoyed watching the girl’s final projects and presentation demos, which you can also check out here!
As demos round up, I’m immediately surrounded by clusters of girls who are asking for log-ins for tools we used, wondering if there are any other workshops for girls their age, and trying to figure out how to connect with their newfound friends – All indications that it has been a week well spent.
It was an absolute pleasure to host the girls and their guardians. A major thank you to the UBC Computer Science Department for being our gracious hosts. We look forward to more camps in Vancouver, come 2018, so keep your eye out for them!