National News

Coding camp looks to 'plant seeds' for future careers

Posted June 29

— For at least three years, maybe four, Hudson Everett has considered a career in game design, and each year he adds a little more experience.

The 10-year-old from Gainesville is in his second year attending Kids 4 Coding summer camps, and this week at Gwinnett Technical College, Hudson called it "very enjoyable." The camp is put on by Kids 4 Coding, a Roswell-based technology education company that has grown in reach and numbers of campers now in its fourth summer. The camp is offered in Lawrenceville, Alpharetta, Roswell, Dunwoody and Cambridge, Mass. for seven weeks at Lesley University.

About 1,100 kids ages eight through 15 are expected to attend the camps locally this summer.

"For people who understand coding and like coding, they'll really enjoy it," Hudson said, before adding that the Minecraft portion of the camp is especially fun because, "everyone likes Minecraft." "After my camp last year, I did some stuff on my own and it really helped. … That's what it's really about. Learning to code and helping friends by bonding."

The skills developed during the camp give kids a jump start on learning software and applications they otherwise might not be exposed to until college or in their career.

"We're really trying to plant those seeds for careers," co-founder Denise Detamore said. "These jobs haven't even been created yet, but they will be heavily into technology."

Detamore said the U.S. is behind other countries who make coding a core subject in school.

"These kids aren't getting the training in schools," she said. "It's unfortunate that we're where we are in education."

A 2015 graduate of the Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology, Peyton Gross is in his third year as an instructor at the camps. He's studying organizational leadership at Southeastern University and hopes to one day open a collaborative work space where coders and graphic designers work together.

There are 16 instructors in the Atlanta area, and most are studying in the computer field at the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech or Georgia State University.

While Gross is pursuing a business degree, he takes classes externally on Scratch, HTML, CSS and jQuery programming languages.

"When I first started here, I didn't think I would love teaching as much as I do," he said. "One of the most rewarding things to me is to see a student really get something … Moments like that where I made an impression on a student. I realize that in one week I'm not going to change their life with coding, or turn them into a master programmer, but I'm just hoping that I can instill in them the love of coding and programming and realize that this is fun."

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