MAKE Camp @

Jun 25, 2015 by The . Topics include , , , , ,

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What is important?

Typically I craft the blog here for as a reporting of what has happened or what is coming up, stating some facts in a third-person fashion. We had twenty young people attend MAKE Camp this past week at and I feel more comfortable writing this blog from my perspective.

Envision this particular week of camp as a candy-box sampler of activities possible at The participants worked on establishing tumblr accounts to document their activity and share ideas online, learned about code using Javascript in Khan Academy and Python on Raspberry Pis, tie-dyed and screen printed original t-shirts, implemented’s new green screen to create images in Photoshop, and worked in a self-directed manner on individual or collaborative projects, including Cosplay costumes made out of recycled material.   They were also introduced to the process of using our 3D printers! Props to members Austin New, John Stewart, and Eric Parker for volunteering  to come in and share their knowledge with the kids. They were able to showcase what it means to have an interest in something and where you can go with it.

One student’s experience really stood out as a measure of our success.  The coding experience proved to be alluring to a few of the attendees, and this particular student went as far as to create intricate art designs using Khan Academy. This process involved writing code to plot coordinates and define the components of the image. It was stellar! Symmetrical and balanced with a variety of sizes and colors. When I asked this new coder what he would like to title this particular file, the response was “nothing important.” It was far from being nothing important. It was designed using code which serves as the behind the scenes construct of websites, operating systems, and communication devices. Actually, nearly everything which is electronic relies on code! I commented to this fact, adding that little experiences like coding an image may seem like “nothing important”, though they can be the foundation for endeavors further down the road, mentioning that everything is important. I then right-clicked to show him the code for the website he was on at the moment (a little trick Austin New had shown me as I am honestly quite the opposite of tech-savvy.) He seem to get it that coding can get a lot done.


Throughout the week, I’d check in on what he was doing and he continued to “draw” more images using code within Khan Academy. I thoroughly love making detailed art, using geometry and all that, but I do it by hand, so this was interesting to me to see him design it in code. I’d jovially ask if he was still working on “nothing important” as the week went on and he’d shyly shrug with a smile.

Come Friday, I stop by and make sure he is still working on “nothing important”. He asks me to come look at the art he’s been designing with code. It looks good and I tell him so, and then he points to the new title of the piece: “everything is important.”

He seemed to consider this playful approach to writing code as “nothing important” at first, and why should it be, it’s just making silly pictures, right? Recognizing what he was doing as awesome, and telling him so, shifted his view from it not having importance to seeing importance can be found in so much. Maybe everything if you look at it in the right light.

Each member of has surely experienced the compulsion to create a solution, tinker with an idea, or play with parameters. These are the seemingly inconsequential activities that often morph into careers, or small business ventures. At the least, a hobby is born with some of these little queries. This is what defines us as Makers, and that is certainly important for our continued success in supporting our community.

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Located in a historic 1802 Schoolhouse, our space is divided into two wings. One for learning and prototyping, and one for coworking and business incubation. Our membership comes from a wide variety of backgrounds that all consider themselves some measure of hacker, maker, and doer. I am an architect. We have entrepreneurs, business people, teachers, engineers, designers, artists, and Jacks and Jill’s of all trades, and of course many software and hardware developers.

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