Give a kid and app and they’ll play for a day; teach a kid to code and they can build their future.
In 2009, I was approached to host a weekend event for a group of 50 kids from Young Rewired State (YRS) who were going to hack some open government data. At the time I was working for Google in London, data.gov.uk was just getting going and FourSquare was the hottest newest thing. We agreed to host the event and ran pretty much the whole thing in a single room. It was an amazing weekend with the fire alarm only causing us to evacuate the building once. Little did I know what this was the start of…
Fast forward to last weekend, to the Birmingham ICC (huge!), and to the Young Rewired State Hackathon. There were some 1,200 kids hacking for the ‘Festival of Code’ (plus hundreds of mentors, volunteers and parents). I had been invited back to be a judge for the semi- and quarter-finals and I couldn’t wait to get started. Finals judging was the reserve of YRS alumni this year, some of whom were 12 or 13 when they started YRS.
Over the weekend several thoughts struck me which I wanted to share here:
YRS is led by the amazing and humble Emma Mulqueeny (@hubmum). You should check out her blog, the Festival of Code site and it’s also not too late to do some judging of your own in the YRS Public Vote taking place on YouTube.
My baby boy is just 4 months old but if he ever finds this blog when he’s my age I hope he holo-calls me from the deck of his self-driving road-yacht before entering sub-orbit to cross the atlantic in less than an hour.
Photo Credit: Paul Clarke, Flicker