“Culture is defined by what we celebrate.” That’s the thought Alicia Holmes and her team had in mind when they created the first Great AZ Code Challenge in 2015. The event was Arizona’s second biggest hackathon back then; in 2016, the size of the event doubled with 250 participants and 650 people in attendance at the closing ceremony.
The Great AZ Code Challenge 3.0 is making its next round this July 21st and 22nd at Infusionsoft. The organizers hope to raise enough money to host 350 kids, particularly youth from inner city schools. Alicia and her team started The Great AZ Code Challenge to get kids excited about coding, programming, technology, and entrepreneurship. Events like this one encourage their young participants not only to boost their tech and business skills, but also their confidence, leadership skills, and ability to work in teams.
The three-day Challenge helps participants learn how to create video games, apps, and websites while competing for prizes and meeting new people. Kids from all around the state usually attend. Workshops and classes will be held by skilled mentors from the Phoenix area. On Sunday, kids will have the opportunity to present their creations in front of expert judges, who will choose the winning teams and award the prizes at a closing ceremony.
“In addition to inspiring our youth towards a life of personal success, The Great AZ Code Challenge aims to bolster the Arizona economy,” reads a press release. “Economic projections point to a need for approximately 1 million more STEM professionals than the US will produce at the current rate over the next decade if the country is to retain its historical preeminence in science and technology, according to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Imagine what the ecosystem here would look like if we had a surplus of developers!”
The Great AZ Code Challenge is currently in need of both technically-skilled and non-technical volunteers. Those who are interested can sign up online for one or more 4-hour blocks. Volunteers are needed to help the kids with their projects, prepare lunches, set up for the closing ceremony, and other important tasks.
If you know someone in elementary, middle, or high school who would be interested in participating in The Great AZ Code Challenge 3.0, help them reserve their space online today!