12 Reasons You’ll be Jealous of this All-Girls Coding Camp

We all know there’s a gender gap in technology. It’s hard to believe that in 2016 over 80% of software engineers are men and 20% are women.

This summer, we wanted to swap the stereotype and create a camp for kids that is 20% male and 80% female to address this imbalance. For three of the weeks, we went even farther: 100% female.

We’re thrilled to announce that we made it happen! Here’s what GirlCode looked like:

  1. We pair programmed and helped each other fix our bugs

Camp was designed to feel like a startup. Our campers pair programmed, lounged in bean bag chairs and couches, and self-regulated their own breaks. We encouraged collaboration and our girls quickly made new friends through coding together.

2. We picked Code Names like “Ruby,” “Swift,” “Lovelace,” and “Bugfairy.”

Our Code Names gave us an immediate attachment to something tech related. One girl chose the name OOP, as in “Object Orientated Programming,” and she eagerly shared the meaning of her name to the other girls that would listen all week.

3. After finishing a project, campers got to ring the gong to celebrate their victory! Each time, the whole room burst into applause!

When we asked the girls what their favorite part of camp was, an overwhelming group screamed, “RINGING THE GONG!!!”

4. We made app prototypes to solve big problems in the world like protecting endangered animals and providing food to homeless people.

We asked our girls to think of 10 big problems in the world that they care about. Then we started brainstorming ways to use technology to help solve them. When it came time to name our apps, we learned startups don’t need to use vowels if they don’t want to: take a look below at Stop Hungr.

This is Polar Rush: a game to raise awareness about global warming and it’s affects on Polar Bears

5. We had emoji pillows everywhere

Because who doesn’t love emoji pillows!

6. We danced to Beyonce during coding breaks

We found that music was a very important part of camp. Our girls DJ’d using our bluetooth speaker and they loved having dance breaks. There was lots of T-swift, and Beyonce. And of course, our students taught our counselors how to Whip Nae Nae.

7. We took tech trips to Facebook and Tumblr to meet with their Femgineers

We took field trips each week to amazing startups. This summer we visited Google, Facebook, Buzzfeed, and Microsoft. The girls got to meet and ask questions to their wonderful female engineers — Femgineers! We even took over the board room at Tumblr.

8. Coloring, lots of coloring.

Coloring was a wonderful way for them to take a screen break and connect with other campers. Secretly therapeutic and meditative, our giant coloring books were collaborative and a camp favorite.

9. We met with incredible lady bosses like Maddy Maxey who talked about the intersection between fashion and technology

We also met with Isabelle Chapman (the tech editor of Mashable), Alice Chang (a Software Engineer at Pinterest), and Katy Kasmai from Google who led us in a 10x design sprint on how to use technology to solve global warming.

And Isabelle Chapman, the tech editor at Mashable
Taken during our design sprint challenge

10. We practiced our pitches and had an epic demo day to show off our projects.

11. We overheard things like “when I grow up I want to code and make the world a better place.” Some other epic overheards:

  • “My game is going to be about Barbie…playing football”
  • “The reason that girls aren’t into coding is because they think it’s for boys. They need to be given the opportunity to be proven wrong. It’s a stereotype that coding is for boys. Most of my friends who are boys aren’t into coding. Most girls I know don’t stick to the stereotype.”
  • “I like it here because at my other tech camp they just give the answers to you, here I get to figure it out for myself.”
  • “I want a woman to be in charge of the White House!!”
  • “How do you spell feminism?”

12. We didn’t want to leave.

The Coding Space is a NYC after school program and summer coding camp. We are passionate about empowering young ladies to become Lady Bosses. We designed The GirlCode Program for a small group of girls to learn how to code, meet amazing female mentors in tech, and immerse themselves in a startup community. We support the growth of intellectual confidence, which we believe promotes positive self-esteem and confidence in all areas of their lives.

If you want to collaborate, partner with our program you can reach out to our GirlCode Director: say hi to Nicole at nicole@thecodingspace.com