Basic questions about organising events with youngsters

Some open questions that would help determine the future of our youth activities:

  • CoderDojos and RailsGirls are essentially free of charge (sponsored), other initiatives like workshop4me in Luxemburg ask for a small fee. Which would be the better concept for Bern/Switzerland? If totally free, some company sponsoring might be welcome, is this the way to go?

  • In creacode and workshop4me they have themes they work around, at CoderDojo Zurich and Game Design Studio they don’t. Is it necessary to have a focus? How about a project database with links and some first grips on different levels to give guidance for kids who want it? This could be complemented with projects proposed by several external social organizations (that might also be a resource older kids who are looking for some project for a maturarbeit). Is this worth the (large) effort? What are the advantages of different strategies here?

  • Some interesting themes: games, digital and computational photography, video, web, robotics, creative robotics (for decorating cookies, making music …)

Any input (& further questions) is appreciated

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Further info: Check out Sara’s workshop proposal and blog posts about our own experience with Young Rewired State last year.

@sara, the three areas you mention - costs, content, themes - are definitely central to finding an audience and running a successful series of events. I am also keen to hear what others, especially people from the projects you mention, have to say about the merits of the different approaches.

What I can say is that at http://make.opendata.ch we have been running free events, with a very loose structure, and specific, high-level themes (e.g. finance data, health data, energy data). This seems to be a good formula, and we have sustainable interest and support. I don’t know how much that would change if we did things differently, as we have not really tried.

My point is that we should probably just start somewhere - even with your “best feeling” about what should work - in Bern, for our friends’ and neighbours’ kids - and experiment. Introduce or adjust the price, try one structure or another, go through themes systematically - and be data-driven, keeping track of what we tried and making adjustments.

Right now we have a thread here about how ‘independent’ we want to be as an initiative, and I think it has some implications here as well in regards to sponsorship, having to ensure certain contents are available, etc.