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Code Girls United incorporating summer programs

Code Girls United Summer Program Screen Shot 2022-07-24 at 1.17.53 PM.png
Posted at 1:39 PM, Jul 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-25 10:28:42-04

KALISPELL - A statewide after-school program that teaches girls coding and app creating skills has expanded to include a summer program.

“After they create their first app, I can't even describe the excitement you see come across their face. When they've done all their design for the phone screen, they've done their block coding, and we connect it to an Android phone, there's nothing that can describe that confidence," said Brenda Reiter, Code Girls United Program Director.

Code Girls United is a statewide after-school program that teaches girls in fourth through eighth grade all about coding, the terms, and how to create their own apps.

The program started in 2016 and starting this fall, there will be 17 programs throughout the state.

Program participants learn business skills, create apps and compete in the Northwest Regional Challenge.

“Being able to make something myself and be able to put it on a device and then that final aha moment once you get a problem worked out, that's really amazing," said Makayla Davenport, Code Girls United summer Intern.

This summer, Code Girls expanded their program to include a summer program called Coding Groovy Unicorns where the girls learn binary code, basic coding skills and create apps that are unicorn themed.

“And love it because I love computers and I love looking forward to making my own game a lot," said Hattie DeVries, Coding Groovy Unicorns participant.

This program is unique because it focuses on girls feeling safe and welcome in the tech industry that in the past has been a mostly male focused industry.

Program volunteer Kate Adams — who has worked in the tech industry for six years — said when she was younger and interested in computer camps she felt like she didn’t belong.

“So I think it's really cool to make space for like girls and women in the tech area and show that they can do this. It's not that boys are smarter. And I don't think it's that girls aren't interested. It's that they don't feel like they're welcome in those spaces. It's just that it's really has been kind of built to make them feel more comfortable," said Kate Adams, Code Girls United Volunteer.

The girls learn coding and app creating skills through the program but it’s about more than that. They also learn how to be women in business — and specifically, the tech business.

“So we provide an environment, when the girls come in where they learn, but we encourage them to make mistakes. We encourage them to learn through their mistakes and overcome them, not get frustrated. So it's really unique in how we approach the topic," said Reiter.