Update (June 5, 2015)
Join Us In Launching App Camp For Girls!
We hit our original target of $50,000 in just three days. We are now aiming for $100,000, so that we can bring the awesome AC4G program to more girls in more locations by next summer.
Update (July 12, 2013)
App Camp For Girls was featured in The New Yorker today in an article titled Making Apps, Not Friendship Bracelets. It's a great overview of what we are doing and why it's important.
We've posted our first camper testimonial too. Aysa describes what makes App Camp For Girls awesome!
It's great seeing everyone come together to support this program. Only 4 days remain--make sure to invite your friends to join us too and get the word out in this final stretch.
Update (July 9, 2013)
See App Camp in action! We posted a new campaign video here, with footage from the first week of camp. And we were also featured on KATU News, in a great feature with reporter Valerie Hurst.
For a firsthand account of volunteering, listen to designer and App Camp volunteer Christa Mrgan on The Talk Show with John Gruber. Towards the end of the show, she describes her experience working with the girls on interface and icon design. We are looking forward to having Christa back in August!
Update (July 3, 2013)
We just finished an amazing week! Twelve smart, creative girls participated in the App Camp “beta” session. We wanted to test out the program, and these girls agreed to be “guinea pigs” in exchange for waived camp tuition. (Read our latest Indiegogo update for more details!)
The girls loved it! “It’s a fun camp where you get to learn so much, meet amazing people, and build friendship and confidence.”
And so did their parents. “My daughter had a terrific time and was so inspired! Your camp has solidified her interest in a career as a computer programmer.”
We are also very excited to be closing in on $75,000 in donations! Our stretch goal is $100,000. With the additional funds, we will accelerate our plans and expand the program beyond Portland in Summer 2014.
Help us decide. When we make our new goal of $100,000, where should App Camp For Girls go next? Let us know in your comments!
Why Apps? Why Girls?
App Camp for Girls wants to address the gender imbalance among software developers by giving girls the chance to learn how to build apps, to be inspired by women instructors, and to get exposure to software development as a career. Our goal is to grow our non-profit organization into a national force, with programs in multiple cities, helping thousands of girls.
We are launching this summer in Portland, Oregon. This summer, we'll be holding two sessions with girls 12-14 so that we can build and refine our curriculum. With experience and an established program, we'll move forward over the coming year with plans to expand the camp for Summer 2014 to accommodate more girls and a bigger age group, and to build the organization to reach beyond Portland to other cities.
Where did we get this idea?
Have you ever attended a tech conference and wondered, "Where are all the women?" That was founder Jean MacDonald's question. She attends an annual developer gathering with over 5000 attendees every year, and only a few hundred of them are women. Instead of feeling cranky about it, she tried to think of a positive way to address the imbalance.
As a volunteer and former board member at the Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls, Jean knew that amazing things happen when women mentors help girls see themselves in roles they had never imagined before. The camp started in Portland 12 years ago, and today there are girls rock camps around the world. App Camp For Girls is inspired by this model.
What have we done so far?
In March, we held a one-day "alpha" camp with a small group to test out our plan to build an app with the girls in a short amount of time. It was a huge success.
The highlight of the program for the girls was using the finished app on the iPhone. The feeling of accomplishment was clearly visible on their faces.
We are doing a "beta" camp (at no charge) June 24-28 with 12 girls to build on the success of the alpha camp and extend the program to a full week. Even with minimal outreach, we received beta camp applications from over 30 girls. We know the demand and need is there, and we know we have a program that is both engaging and inspiring. Our August regular session is scheduled to have 20 campers, and we already have girls signing up.
Update: Our first "beta" session was a huge success. Check out our pitch video above to see the camp in action. We are focused now on making August even better!
What happens at App Camp?
The schedule at App Camp For Girls is equal parts geeky and fun. It's summer camp, after all! Girls are divided in to project teams, and the teams are led by a woman iOS developer with help from other women who are designers, testers, support specialists, and others.
The weeklong session covers the process from brainstorming an app idea to marketing the finished app. Girls will learn how to sketch out and storyboard their app ideas. The project team leaders will take the refined app storyboards and show the girls how apps are built in Xcode. The girls will have an opportunity for hands-on time with Xcode Storyboards and will learn how to customize the content of their app.
In addition to developing their apps, the girls get to design icons and write App Store descriptions, while figuring out who their target market is. On the last day of camp, the teams will pitch their apps to a panel of women angel investors, giving them a chance to receive valuable feedback and learn more about the business side of app development.
Each day, we'll also have some physical activities with teachers coming in to do yoga, hula hooping, and self defense. Weather permitting (it is Oregon, of course), we can take advantage of the playground at TaborSpace where the camp is held and go on hikes in nearby Mt. Tabor Park. There will also be arts-and-crafts, button making, decorating iPhone cases and designing iPhone wallpaper.
The camp will provide an iPod touch for each girl to use. This will make it easy for the girls to learn by example, looking at current apps and how they work. The finished apps from each project team will be loaded on to all the iPod touches so the girls can see their apps on the device and get that sense of pride and excitement that comes with deploying your first app.
What will the funds be used for?
Our goal is to raise enough money to fund the first 12 months of building a non-profit nationwide program. We have the costs of launching the Summer 2013 App Camp with 32 girls over two sessions (June and August), as well as the costs of running the camp, expanding the program and doing outreach for the next 12 months. Some of the expenses include:
- iPod touches
- MacBooks, backup drives and other accessories
- venue rental
- classroom equipment and projector
- volunteer stipends
- design tools and art supplies
- software: CRM, finance, presentation
- website hosting
- accounting and legal services
- printing and t-shirts
- snacks and lunches
Update: We hit our target of $50,000 in just three days. We are now working toward our stretch goal of $100,000. The response to App Camp For Girls has been just amazing, and we often hear the question: "When can you bring App Camp to our city?" With the additional funding, we'll be able to bring the program to more girls in more cities by Summer 2014.
How can you help?
First and foremost, we welcome your dollars! There are hard costs associated both with launching and seeding a fruitful, long-term venture like this. (Did we mention we were thinking big? Lots of lost ground to make up for as far as creating gender balance and opportunity!)
Second, we'd love your help getting the word out about App Camp for Girls—both this fundraiser and the project in general. We can't be everywhere and we don't know everyone who'll want to be involved—yet, anyway—so we really need your help. Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, G+ or your favorite online or real-life networks of choice increases our chances of getting more girls in more camps making more apps.
To facilitate this, Friend of AC4G and functional muse Dyana Valentine generously pre-rolled some <140-character messages for your tweeting convenience:
Help 32 girls kick APP this summer! http://bit.ly/app-camp
Want to support girls in tech? Put your $ where your heart is: http://bit.ly/app-camp
Integrating software development, one girl at a time: http://bit.ly/app-camp
Girls+tech+lady smarty pants mentors= a better world. Support @AppCamp4Girls http://bit.ly/app-camp
... to you for supporting our campaign and spreading the word, and to many fine people who have helped us get this far:
Our colleagues have very generously supported by making it possible for us to focus time and attention to the project. We are lucky to work with such great developers:
- Greg Scown & Philip Goward of Smile
- Dave Teare, Roustem Karimov & Jeff Shiner of 1Password/AgileBits
- Evan DeLaney of Fish Hook
Josh Barrett of CreateLegal provides us legal services and much wise advice.
Thompson Morrison and Chris Brooks at the TechStart Educational Foundation stepped into the crucial role of non-profit fiscal sponsor, sharing their deep experience and expertise in tech education programming.
Julie Mills of DesignPony designed our awesome logo, buttons, flyers; she makes us look good.
Curtis Settino of Canoofle did an amazing job producing our fundraising video, while providing a lot of smart advice on the process.
Artist Rosie Augustine loved the idea of creating a unique Ada Lovelace collage portrait, adding a touch of elegance to our perk offerings. Check out all of Rosie's unique mixed media artwork, and you'll get an idea of what she will do with the Ada portrait.
LeAnn Boucher and Aaron Hillegass at Big Nerd Ranch generously arranged a donation of copies of the excellent and popular iOS Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide.
Beth Wooten, Molly Gray and all the staff and campers at Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls: without your example, there would be no App Camp For Girls!
Please note: when you donate, your receipt will say "TECHSTART". TechStart Education Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3) organization, is the fiscal sponsor of App Camp For Girls, a non-profit corporation in the State of Oregon. Donations to App Camp For Girls via TechStart are tax-deductible.