Black Girls CODE Summer Camp teaches teen girls coding

 |   Ashley Bass, Mid-West Program Manager, Black Girls Code

According to a 2017 report from the Office of the Chief Economist, employment in STEM occupations grew much faster than employment in non-STEM occupations over the last decade (24.4 percent versus 4.0 percent, respectively), and STEM occupations are projected to grow by 8.9 percent from 2014 to 2024, compared to 6.4 percent growth for non-STEM occupations. Technology shapes everyone’s lives all over the world and will only continue to expand, therefore, everyone should have an opportunity to shape and create it.

Black Girls CODE provides opportunities to ensure that black girls and girls of color are not only included in tech but are prepared to take on leadership roles within the field. Black Girls CODE is devoted to showing the world that black girls can code, and do so much more.

Students in Chicago’s Black Girls Code summer camp

Black Girls CODE introduces computer coding lessons to young girls from underrepresented communities by providing activities in five domains: web design, mobile app design, game design, robotics and virtual reality. Black Girls CODE’s goal is to provide youth with the skills to occupy some of the 1.4 million computing job openings expected to be available in the U.S. by 2020, and to train 1 million girls by 2040.

We are thrilled that this is now our third year offering summer camp in Chicago. This year’s summer camp was a two-week Mobile App Development camp, where young ladies ages 13 to 17 engage in tech instruction, and hands-on, project-based instruction. The day camp incorporates coding with community building, social justice workshops, wellness activities and field trips. Our camps offer a space where girls can learn computer science and coding principles in the company of other girls and with mentorship from women they can see themselves becoming.

Field Trip to Microsoft led by Microsoft Software Engineer, Gabrielle Crevecouer

This year’s camp introduced campers to CSS, Javascript, and HTML. 35 teenage girls learned the importance of teamwork as they worked in pairs to collaborate, create a concept, design, build code, and launch web pages and mobile apps. The three tech instructors, who all studied computer science, helped our campers successfully complete both projects!

Campers presented their mobile app projects to their parents on the last day.  App concepts ranged from trivia games to apps that allow students to get homework help from their peers.  This achievement was felt by campers and families alike, amazed at what campers were able to do in two short weeks. In the presentations, many girls highlighted the struggles of learning the material while creating a new concept.

“I’m so lucky to have participated in summer camp. I was nervous on the first day, however everyone was so welcoming and I was able to meet new friends. I went into camp with little knowledge about coding, and after the two weeks I’m more comfortable with coding concepts, and I’m very proud of my app.”

Christiana Zollicoffer, Age 14

Interested in learning more about ways to get involved with Black Girls Code? Please visit our website www.blackgirlscode.com to view all of our upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.

Find more information about Black Girls Code by visiting our website for upcoming workshops.

Ashley Bass helps lead the strategy and execution Black Girls CODE programs in the Midwest.