From dancing robots to animation lessons, the Urban League of Greater Madison had an engaging day of learning in store for the youths who attended the sixth annual Game Design and Coding Day.
The event, open to middle and high school students, has traditionally taken place during the Madison School District’s spring break to provide a safe and educational space for local youths.
“This is really cool, usually during spring break I’m just reading a book, but now I’m actually doing something,” said participant Leon Warren. “My mom told me about it and I was excited because I love coding.”
Friday’s Game Design and Coding Day was hosted at the Madison Youth Arts Center. The free event is part of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, a partnership between the city and the Urban League that provides opportunities for young men of color.
Both Ruben Anthony, president and CEO of the Urban League, and Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway urged participants to consider pursuing careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
“I think it’s really important to get young people engaged in the STEM fields and this is a fun way to do it,” said Rhodes-Conway. “It can be their path to higher education and a career. Two of my brothers are in coding and I want to encourage kids to do something they enjoy and that could also be a potential future for them.”
“I really enjoy helping students to realize opportunities that exist within a tech space. Tech doesn’t necessarily have to be just coding in a vacuum,” said Andrew Schilcher, director of middle school programming for the Urban League. “There’s a whole spectrum of opportunities and helping students to see that full spectrum is a really cool thing.”