Waxhaw Kid Coders provides kids ages 4 and up with fun and engaging workshops in coding and robotics. We have weekend workshops and summer camps covering MIT's Scratch, LEGO® WeDo®, LEGO® Mindstorms® EV3, Stencyl, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Minecraft Mods and more!
Founder and Chief Code Coach
The idea for Waxhaw Kid Coders began one evening in early 2014 when I was searching the web for online solutions to teach my 12 year old son Jack how to learn the basics of programming. I thought that teaching him to program by creating video games would be a perfect place to start. After all, he loves playing video games so why not learn how to create them?
I had plenty of websites to choose from but one grabbed my attention. It was a programming environment called AgentSheets developed at the University of Colorado that teaches critical thinking fundamentals through game programming using classic video games that I grew up with - such as Frogger, Space Invaders, and Pac-Man. My son is also a big fan of these games so I convinced him to sit down with me to learn how to create his first game. He was skeptical at first but once he started working through the Frogger tutorial with me, he actually thought the process was fun and easier than he thought it would be.
It was at that moment I decided that I should share this program with more kids just like Jack - perhaps in a summer camp format - and Waxhaw Kid Coders was born! I contacted AgentSheets.com and received nothing but great help and encouragement. My next step was to find a location to hold the summer workshops. A chance meeting led me to the Waxhaw Entrepreneurs Incubator Program. They provided me with a space to hold my camps and other valuable contacts and resources in the local community. Through the incubator program everything started to come together rapidly! The final step was taking the plunge and dedicating all my time to cultivating my new idea. I had been working in the corporate world as computer programmer for over twenty years and felt it was time to give something back and to do something that would be incredibly meaningful and exciting.
Back in the early 1980s when I was in high school, I began teaching myself how to program using a small computer called the Timex Sinclair 1000. It was one of the earliest home computers. It attached to my television much the same way modern game systems still do to this day and I used the manual to learn how to write my first program. Beyond the manual, there were not many resources available for me to learn coding and I did not know anyone who could program a computer that could help me. I must have started and stopped many times and was never able to get beyond a few simple programs. I soon lost interest in it and I went to college and studied finance and later completed graduate school.
It wasn't until later on in my late twenties when I rediscovered programming through a co-worker at a computer training school who was writing a scheduling program that piqued my interest - so much so that I bought a book on it and picked his brain for hours until I found myself writing code again. This time it was more fun and I was getting somewhere. Right around the same time, in the mid-1990s, the internet was starting to take off and suddenly I saw a world of opportunities.
Having a coach or a mentor was something I never had back in high school when I was first learning to code. Perhaps if I did I would have been a computer science major in college. Who knows? I have no regrets because my business background has been an asset when I changed paths and went into computer programming. With Waxhaw Kid Coders I want to provide each child with the opportunity to have a coach and mentor and also help guide parents to many of the amazing resources that are available for teaching kids coding, robotics and more. I also want to encourage collaboration as a theme in my workshops. I believe these aspects are what will make my summer camps and workshops unique. Sure, you can take online courses to learn how to program, there are certainly hundreds of them online, but growing ideas as a team in a "real" social environment starting at a young age will be much more effective for personal development and in developing solid communication skills. There are tremendous opportunities in computer science today and I would be honored to introduce these powerful life skills to children and give them a great edge before they ever set foot in college.
My goal is to continue to provide the best cutting-edge summer camps and workshops in Union County, North Carolina where students of all ages and skill levels can collaborate and share ideas with their peers and can work together to solve problems in our community and for local businesses. Just imagine if every child developed the tools to innovate by the time they reached their teens. The possibilities are endless!
Join our exclusive VIP Club for FREE today and we'll email you our Parent's Guide to Kid Coding & Robotics, plus you'll receive our monthly "Kid Coder Chronicle" chock full of coding and robotics tips, teaching aids, class companion tools, workshop schedules, and fun stories!
Waxhaw Kid Coders was created for kids and teens who love technology, enjoy tinkering, and have a burning curiosity for figuring out how things work! Call today to find out how to get your kid plugged into our classes and workshops!
216 West North Main Street, Waxhaw, North Carolina 28173, United States