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After 25 Years of Programming, My Joy of Coding was (re)Sparked by Girl Scouts and an Hour of Code™

Updated: Apr 9, 2022

During the winter of 2020, my 8-year old was four months into her virtual routine. Virtual 3rd Grade. Virtual piano lessons. Virtual Girl Scout meetings.

I was impressed by the work her volunteer Troop leaders were doing with the girls. I wanted to help out, so I began researching the various Girl Scout badges. I read that the Girl Scouts had new STEM badges, and excitedly volunteered to help the girls earn a badge or two.

4 Girl Scouts STEM Badges for Brownies
Brownies Computer Science Badges

That winter, I met several times with her Troop and coached the girls, Kindergarten - 5th grade, through an array of 'unplugged' coding activities, and programming lessons. Along the way they earned their "Think Like a Programmer", "Computer Science Journey", and "Coding for Good" badges.

Even more important than the badges, was how much confidence the girls gained and the fun and laughter we all had along the way. I was surprised that the parents were also excited to learn about programming. For the first time in years, I was invigorated by coding!

Fast forward, and I'm now the founder of a virtual coding school, Kai Coders. We teach programming fundamentals to kids 3rd-5th grade in a super-fun and supportive way.

Just last week, I had a 3rd grader ask me if I liked coding. With a straight face I told her "No". Then I laughed and said,

"I don't like coding - I LOVE coding!"
a lady writing on a piece of paper while sitting in front of 2 monitors
A virtual 'unplugged' coding lesson with Girl Scouts

Seriously. This is what I LOVE about coding and teaching kids to code:

  • Watching them share and being inspired by each other

  • Watching them collaborate and learn from one another

  • Seeing them grow from being shy and reluctant to share to being confident and eager to present their projects

  • Hearing their enthusiasm and pride as they overcome obstacles, fix bugs, and realize that YES, they can code

I am on my way to teaching over 100 students this Spring. I credit all of these students for helping me find my way back to the joy of coding that somehow started to get lost over the years.

Each and every time a teacher, parent, or student thanks me, I return the thank you to them. Coding with kids is like seeing a rainbow after a storm. It is so refreshing and beautiful you can't stop yourself from smiling:)

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