What happened in the woods

 

This year’s Code in the Woods’ program is wrapped up, except for our Christmas Party. We’ve had couple of great events, the last one being Junior Camp that was held in the beginning of October. Junior Camp got 117 applications from where we picked the best 18 to go to the camp. With these happy campers, we had an amazing week together filled with coding and laughter. Now that it’s been couple of weeks since the camp ended, it’s nice to look back and go through some of the highlights of the week.

starting the week easy

The camp was kick-started in the previous week with a “Pre-Afterwork”, where the campers had the opportunity to get to know each other before heading to the woods together. It was a great event also for us organizers to meet the campers and see how the group functions together. During the evening, we discussed why we think having this mission and this concept, where we provide free learning opportunities, is important. We also had an initial overview of the work ahead in the camp, and of course, a social game to break the ice. The campers were clearly more comfortable about the next week as they left Barona Technologies’ office.

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The actual camp began on Monday morning when we all met in front of Kiasma. The atmosphere was still a bit nervous as there were some new faces, that were not able to make it to the Pre-Afterwork, including two campers that flew all the way from Spain just to come to the camp. We got on to our bus and started our journey. Still, a bit tired group of people excitedly chattered in the back. Gladly, the drive wasn’t long and before we knew it, we already arrived at our destination.

The camp was held in the beautiful Villa Hummerheim in Porkkala, Kirkkonummi. The quirky lobster themed venue was quite perfect for spending four days in the woods coding. It provided some much-needed balance for sitting inside and staring at computer screens the whole day.

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Monday’s mission after settling in was to divide the campers into teams, let them get to know each other better and to get everything set up for the rest of the week. This meant that we started with some team building exercises, and used the rest of the day for making sure that everybody had the tools they needed, and for brainstorming the teams’ app ideas. All in all, nice and easy start for the week, spiced up with just a little bit of frustration from waiting for everything to slowly get downloaded to everyone’s computers.

Time for some serious coding

Tuesday was the day when the campers really got into coding. Our mentor André had prepared a lot of exercises to familiarize everybody with React Native. They also got a chance to build their very first mini-apps using what they had learned so far. The coding lasted late in the evening, but gladly, most of the campers were able to detach themselves from their computers, and relax.

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After a well rested night, started definitely the most intense day of the camp. After the day’s workshops it was time for the teams to seriously start building their final apps. This continued to quite late in the evening, and for some, also to the next morning. The beauty of React Native is, for one, the fact that you are able to quite quickly build functioning apps. The camp’s idea was that the teams would come up with relatively simple ideas for the apps, that would be possible to code in the time that they had, which most of the them were able to do.

Finally the Demo-day!

On Thursday morning, it was time to see what the campers had achieved and learned. Some teams were still eagerly coding some last minute changes or fixes right after they woke up, but soon after the breakfast, presenting the demos started. It was very cool to see how every team had very different ideas from each other, and most of the teams were also able to create rather nice looking user interfaces to their apps.

The Swans:
An app where you can look at different statistics of different nations. It has a long list of all countries that you can click and see the basic information of that country.

Team 42:
An app that allows you to find out random facts about your favorite number and also has a cool little history quiz.

3agle Natives:
An app that enables the user to browse different cryptocurrencies and to see how they fared. Includes also a search function to help the user to find what they were looking for.

Salty Simpletons:
An app where you could get your daily dose of dog pictures. It has long list of dog breeds that you can click and see a photo of. Also, it has a random dog photo option, if you don’t have any preference on the breed.

Dolphins:
An app that allows you to easily search, view, and favorite GitHub repositories on your phone.

NexIn:
An app that allows a group of people to listen music with some of them being the DJs and deciding what to listen. The other members of the group can vote if they want certain person to continue as a DJ or not. If someone is voted out, the next person “in line” gets to be a DJ.

huge thanks to everyone involved!

After the demos were presented, we started to head back to Helsinki city center. The campers seemed to be a bit tired, but quite happy. The goodbyes were short and sweet, as this will surely not be the last time we see each other.

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I am truly grateful that I had the chance to be a part of Code in the Woods and organize Junior Camp this fall! We had the best group of campers, that, at least me personally, could have hoped for. I especially enjoyed seeing the campers working together and helping each other, which is one of the biggest reasons for organizing Code in the Woods’ events, anyway.


Sini Pirinen

Code in the Woods coordinator