Ten years ago, Utah Geek Events kicked off their first coding camp at Neumont University’s South Jordan campus. There were 50 adults that attended the session. A decade later, more than 700 attendees were taking part in another historic event: Kid Code Con at Neumont’s campus in downtown Salt Lake City, officially kicking off the Summer of Programming at the university.
“As a mother of young girls, I thought it was wonderful to get an opportunity for them to get a chance to dig deeper into the STEM area,” said Jamie Moncur, who attended with her three daughters, ages three to eight.
Sabrena Suite-Mangum, a Neumont employee said she was also elated to participate in Kids Code Con with her seven-year old son Holden.
“He started getting particularly interested in programming and computer science during last year’s Hour of Code. He kept asking when he would get attend a summer coding camp, but there’s not much offered for kids under age eight. The event was great way to keep fueling his interest in programming. I’m so grateful we attended.”
Holden said he thought it was important to learn to code “so I can make video games when I grow up.” His mom recognizes it's the language of the future, and a skill set to be nurtured early. He attended the Lego session and the Electronics 101 class, lead by Copper Hills High Junior Cassandra Ivie, who has been recognized on a local and national level for her contributions robotics and STEM education For this session, participants used breadboard kits to show how circuits and LED lights work.
Eight-year old Cyrus Cheney, son of Neumont UniversityEvent Coordinator Emily Cheney said, “I like that it was educational and fun. It’s important to do things like Kid Con because we learn different strategies to do different things.”
His mother Emily added: "We had a fantastic time at Kid Con! I wish I had the opportunity to learn coding basics as a child."
For the older participants, one of the event highlights was the Virtual Reality session. Pat Wright, President of Utah Geek Events and head of Kid Code Con said that more than 70 people chose to attend the morning session alone. One key factor was the Microst HoloLens. Only 1,000 have been made to date, and it lived up to the hype.
Wright said that while Utah Geek Events' Adult coding camps have expanded well beyond the capacity at Neumont, that the downtown spot was perfect for Kid Code Con.
“We have a long standing relationship with Neumont,” he explained. “It’s a great school. The project-based learning is what sets Neumont apart from every other university in the state. I tell parents, 'For my dollar, I’m most likely sending my daughter to Neumont because her best chance of getting hired is here.' ”
Utah Geek Events will host another Kid Code Con at Neumont University in August. Watch the news story on KUTV for more information.