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For a number of years now I’ve been taking part in Young Rewired State. They describe themselves as:

“Young Rewired State is a network of software developers and designers aged 18 and under.

It is the philanthropic arm of Rewired State and its primary focus is to find and foster the young children and teenagers who are driven to teaching themselves how to code, how to program the world around them. The aim is to create a worldwide, independent, mentored network of young programmers supported and supporting through peer-to-peer learning. Ultimately solving real-world challenges.”

I’ve loved volunteering as a software development mentor for the past 5 years. A great example of a project one of my groups created in just 5 days is Unimatch.

I’m really looking forward to taking part in this year’s Festival of Code (5th to 11th August) and hearing how the first RYS NYC turns out.

Last year as well as mentoring a group of young developers I was also part of the team setting up the digital badges for the event. Open Badges is one of many excellent projects created by Mozilla. YRS really picked it up and ran with it last year. We were fortunate enough to have the creative resources of my extremely talented friend JP who created all of the badge designs (for free). Cast your eyes over these.

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Last year, the digital side was handled by my GDS colleague Rob. He set up a brilliant system using Google Forms and a Django based back-end. The Center Manager for each area entered the details for each kid including which badges they had earned. The system then automatically emailed them a link to put the badge into their badge backpack. This year that piece of work is being picked up by Steve from Manchester Madlabs.

While those find folks are doing that I’ve been looking after the physical side of the badges. After going through something like 6 sets of printer ink cartridges to print them all at home last year, this year I’ve arranged for them to be done by a professional printer. Seven thousand printed stickers should be arriving on my doorstep in the morning!