CoderDojo and the Global Day of Coderetreat

In the original announcement, we mentioned that the Global Day of Coderetreat will support CoderDojo.  However, we did not provide a lot of details.

When Corey announced the very first Global Day of Coderetreat, he had something bigger in mind than getting a bunch of geeks together all over the world for a day of programming. Corey’s dream was to help the software development community grow by supporting worldwide efforts to educate children (and others) about programming.

During the first GDCR, Corey announced the creation of the Coderetreat Community Contribution Fund (c3f). Any GDCR sponsorship funds not used for the Global Day of Coderetreat were contributed to c3f. Later, the funds were distributed to organizations dedicated to public, volunteer-driven programming education (including Black Girls Code).

As successful as c3f was, it never caught on in the way that Corey had originally envisioned. In order to simplify the process and to better utilize limited volunteer time, we have decided to find another way to realize Corey’s original vision.

That is why, for the 2014 Global Day of Coderetreat, we are directly partnering with CoderDojo: a worldwide, volunteer-driven movement of programming clubs for young people.

four groups of kids coding together© CoderDojo Foundation. Used with permission.

CoderDojo was started in much the same way that coderetreat was started. In 2011, James Whelton setup a programming club at his school in Ireland where he taught younger students how to use HTML and CSS. James later met Bill Liao. Bill is an entrepreneur who spends a lot of his time supporting not for profit efforts. Bill and James decided to take James’s idea of a programming club based on open source methodologies to the world.

James Whelton and Bill Liao© CoderDojo Foundation. Used with permission.

In June 2011, James and Bill launched the first CoderDojo in Cork, Ireland. Not long after, a second CoderDojo started up in Dublin, Ireland. James and Bill’s efforts received some well deserved media attention, and then CoderDojo took off quickly. Today, there are over 500 Dojos spread across 48 countries from Ireland, to the USA, to Japan, and even Nigeria.

four Dojos from around the world© CoderDojo Foundation. Used with permission.

I cannot think of an organization that fits Corey’s original vision better than CoderDojo. People all over the world are coming together and donating thousands of hours to inspire and educate the next generation of programmers,technologists, and creators. In many cases, CoderDojo provides an opportunity for young people to explore and create with technology that they would otherwise not have.

A new Dojo starts when an individual identifies the potential benefit that a Dojo could have on the local community. This person is known as the Dojo champion. The champion rallies volunteers, secures a venue, and promotes the club. Dojos meet regularly on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis.

Just like coderetreats, CoderDojo sessions are all free. Local Dojo’s rely on in-kind sponsorships and, in some cases, small donations in order to operate.

While many volunteers make Dojos a reality all over the world, amazingly, only a team of six provides support to all of the local organizations. The small team provides community support and assistance to both new and existing Dojos. They develop resources and manage partnerships that support all 500+ CoderDojo clubs. In addition, the team promotes CoderDojo internationally and strives to create awareness about the benefits of exposing young people to “the magic behind technology” from an early age. The team provides a support desk for local Dojos, curates a wiki of valuable information, facilitates  DojoCon (the annual CoderDojo conference), and helps to organize the Coolest Projects Awards for young people.

Coolest Project Awards 2013 and DojoCon 2013© CoderDojo Foundation. Used with permission.

I am proud that we can support CoderDojo with the Global Day of Coderetreat, and I encourage you to think about how you can personally support CoderDojo. Here are some ideas:

  • Invite a CoderDojo to your Coderetreat - if you are hosting or facilitating a coderetreat for GDCR, why not invite your local CoderDojo club members to join you? You can find your local Dojo here.

  • Mentor at a CoderDojo - CoderDojo is always looking for more volunteers. Maybe there is a CoderDojo near you (you can search the map on the CoderDojo home page) that you could volunteer a few hours every week or every month to help with.

  • Become a Champion and start a Dojo - If there is not already a CoderDojo in your local community, then I encourage you to consider starting one.  The Global Day of Coderetreat (November 15th) would be a GREAT day to launch a new Dojo.

  • Donate - If volunteering is not your thing (or if you are like me and are already over-committed), then I encourage you to consider donating to CoderDojo. All donations are hugely appreciated.

  • Do you have idea as to how we could further support CoderDojo? Leave a comment!

Together, we can help make the world better by inspiring a new generation of programmers. Will you join us and CoderDojo? Will you Be Cool?

kid with Be Cool on his back© CoderDojo Foundation. Used with permission.

Jim++

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