Skerries CoderDojo AGM 2016

Minutes of Skerries CoderDojo AGM

29 September 2016, Skerries Community Centre (Old School)

Present:

Adam Barry, Barry Keegan, Garry Rogers, Gavin Killen, Jack Halpin, Karen Flannery, Máire Goldsmith, María A. Mañueco Ramos, Mat May, Myles Slevin, Paula Hickey, Sabine McKenna, Stephen Guildea, Thomas Lepel, Tony Graham.

Chairperson’s (“Champion’s”) Report

Sabine McKenna, current Chairperson (until June 2017 Replacement needed!), gave the following report:

Monthly CoderDojos (October 2015 to June 2016) continue to be in demand, particularly with beginners, although there is a bit of a fall-off in the advanced groups. Still, we barely find enough mentors to offer the spaces that there is demand for! Due to lack of availability of rooms in May & June, we did not accept any new coders after April.

We offered Scratch coding for beginners and intermediate; a small but hardcore html group; Minecraft Modding and then Unity (game design) for the oldest group. Over the last year, the Scratch Intro lead mentor had to leave, and the gap she left is felt; now, the Scratch Plus lead mentor has to end his involvement as well.

Very successful: Mentors encouraging children to present their projects to the group. Didn’t get to the next stage, where ninjas would present to the entire Dojo – we have started the process of obtaining projectors (follow-up needed with the Community Centre).

Within the Skerries Community Association, of which Skerries CoderDojo is a committee (as well as being part of the CoderDojo movement), we participated in the Chairs’ and Committee Meeting in June (Karen Flannery, Deirdre Kelly). This was very useful for forging new connections and for letting the other committees know what it is that we are doing.

We are also present on the SCA website and were included in the annual report; one of our mentors (Tony Graham) is a Director of the SCA

Membership: We have a Mailchimp email list for all parents (244 subscribers), including potentially interested ones; a Google Group for parents (66 members); and a Google Group for organisers / helpers / mentors (49 members).

Equipment: Over the last year, we bought four laptops which can be booked via the Eventbrite system. This is an important step towards inclusion, enabling families which do not have a laptop at home to attend, and also offers families with more children than laptops to sign up more than one child. We have also been successful in obtaining five Raspberry Pis from the CoderDojo foundation.

Mentors and Helpers: A number of new mentors and helpers joined us over the last 12 months, thank you to those who joined & those who continue to help out, CoderDojo would not exist without you! The Garda Vetting Process has been carried out for the first batch of mentors and helpers, and will be offered again in the near future. A good number of our mentors and helpers have attended Child Protection Training, either offered by the CoderDojo foundation or Skerries Community Association, and those who did so strongly recommended attendance to other mentors. Keep your eyes open for announcments of new

Scratch Training for new mentors was last offered in 2015, and should be offered again soon.

Outlook: We need a firm Lead Mentor for each group, who will themselves find a replacement if they cannot make it; a treasurer for Jan 2017, and a new champion for summer 2017 (or earlier, if someone has come to the decision to take this very rewarding job on now).

Treasurer’s Report

Summary 2016 to date (September 2016)

Income    
Tuck shop €510  
Donations €110  
Sponsorship €640 RazorSocial covering the rent
Total: €1260  
     
Expenses    
Rent Little Theatre €480  
Tuck Shop €181  
Bank charges €23  
Total expenses: €684  
Net income:   €576
     
Bank balance    
Opening Bank Balance Jan 2016 €732  
2016 income to date €576  
Closing bank balance sept 2016 €1308  
cash float held €60  
Total money held €1368  

 

Karen Flannery, our treasurer, presented the figures above.

Overall, income from the very popular Tuck Shop is strong, whereas donations have gone down, possibly because parents spend that bit extra on the Tuck Shop. It may, however, be a good idea to make parents more aware of the donations box.

The meeting thanked Karen for her wonderful services as treasurer, which she will continue to carry out until the end of the year; from January 2017, Máire Goldsmith will take over. Thank you, Máire!

Discussion & outcomes

  • A number of parents offered their services as new mentors and helpers.
  • There will be a New Mentor Training from 3 p.m. on Sun October 9 (i.e. directly preceding the next CoderDojo), based on the beginners’ handouts;
    scratch.mit.edu
    has a number of self-learning resources as well
  • Mat May will research cost for some peripherals to be connected to the Raspberry Pis.
  • Sabine will pursue the projector situation.
  • We need to be able to store things in the community centre, e.g. the four laptops, a couple of screens – Sabine to contact the Community Centre and ask about possibility of obtaining (or sharing) a locker.
  • Peer mentoring would be a positive step forward, Scratch Intro and Scratch Plus mentors to discuss how best to do this.
  • Garda Vetting and Child Protection Training to be offered again as soon as possible.
  • A strong lead mentor for Scratch Intro is needed.

Skerries CoderDojo in March

The volunteers of Skerries CoderDojo (one of the many committees of Skerries Community Association) made it possible once more – over 70 “ninjas” (young coders) attended the monthly CoderDojo (or computer-coding workshops) in our Old School last Sunday, 8 March 2015.

There are some 30 mentors and helpers involved in this project, all giving their time free of charge. Thanks to their main sponsor, RazorSocial (based in Rush), their venue is paid for for the moment, but there are many other costs to cover, such as mentor training,  child protection training, materials and (some) equipment (they borrow as much as possible).

Normally, sessions take place on the second Sunday of the month. Every month, tickets for this free event can be reserved. It is safest to book them on the Sunday before the event, when they go live at 5 p.m., as there can be waiting lists. An email to coderdojo@skerriesca.com is all it takes to be put on their mailing list & to be alerted in good time before the next session!

 

Skerries CoderDojo looking for mentors!

Skerries CoderDojo, the free, volunteer-led monthly coding club for kids from 7 to 17 (and their parents), is going from strength to strength. After two meetings in the lovely upstairs of Joe May’s, that venue became too small, and they have now taken over the Old Schoolhouse (part of Skerries Community Centre), where they will be found one Sunday every month from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Advanced Group November 2014 CoderDojo

Advanced Group November 2014 CoderDojo

Now they need more mentors so they can continue coaching the young computer enthusiasts and fill all the space they now have at their disposal. If interested, please contact Sabine at coderdojo@skerriesca.com – you will be offered training if necessary. At the moment, the club is using Scratch and JavaScript. Additional Parent Helpers / Organisers are also welcome.

Intermediate Group November 2014 CoderDojo

Intermediate Group November 2014 CoderDojo

One of the advantages of being in the Old Schoolhouse is that the volunteers can now set up a Café Dojo, where parents (who have to stay on the premises if their children are under 12) can sit and chat and have some coffee / cake. What a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

Café Dojo November 2014 CoderDojo

Café Dojo November 2014 CoderDojo

While the club is free to attend, ninjas (participants) must book in and bring a laptop, and a parent if they are under 12. Bookings for each CoderDojo opens a week before  the event and is done online only, through the Skerries CoderDojo EventBrite page.

Contact coderdojo@skerriesca.com if you would like to be added to their email list, so that you will automatically be alerted when booking opens.

Skerries CoderDojo would like to thank their main sponsor, Ian Cleary of RazorSocia.com, a Rush-based company / website of international renown that evaluates social media tools.

First Ever Skerries CoderDojo a Great Success

CoderDojo Sep 2014 05

The newest Skerries Community Association committee, Skerries CoderDojo, had a great start to its monthly free computing-club sessions. Their aim is to bring interested young people aged 7 to 17 and mentors who have a computing / coding background together. The buzzword here is Digital Literacy, the ability to not just use computers but to understand how they work, and to write your own computer programs.

CoderDojo Sep 2014 03

The organisers, helpers, and mentors numbered more than a dozen, and the interest in Skerries for this monthly event is huge. The venue could hold 30 “ninjas” (which is what CoderDojo participants are called) – it could have been filled twice over, and the (free) tickets were snapped up within twenty minutes.

CoderDojo Sep 2014 02

If anybody would like to join the group of mentors / parent helpers / organisers, they can send an email to coderdojo@skerriesca.com. And if you would like to get a ticket for the October meeting, scheduled for Sun Oct 5, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., then you need to keep an eye on the daily SCA Newsflash email – that, and the SkerriesCoderDojo Google Group (which you are invited to join)  is where you will first learn when next month’s tickets are released.

CoderDojo Sep 2014 04

PS: The organisers asked for feedback; here just a very short summary:

Do you think you will be back for next month’s event? – Yes, definitely. – 100%.

What was particularly good from your point of view? 

“The number of mentors available and the expertise. Also, the kids were having such a great time”

“It’s a fun environment, yet the children really learn something in a constructive way”

“The buzz in the room, community spirit. ”

“An opportunity for “screen-time” with other kids … what’s not to like. My beginner child feels so enabled now – great for self esteem”

Skerries Community Association is delighted to be helping Skerries CoderDojo to get established and would like to thank all the mentors, organisers, and helpers for their efforts. Best of luck to you for the future!