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2015 Highlights at Fire Tech Camp

2015 has been our biggest year yet at Fire Tech Camp, with around 1,200 campers and some incredible events. We are so grateful to have a supportive community around us – parents and carers, tutors and most of all our students who join us in getting inspired by tech. Thank you so much for being with us this year and we hope to give you even more awesome tech and making opportunities in 2016!

Here are our highlights…

JANUARY – a new look for Fire Tech Camp

Our shiny new website sprung into action and stood up to the test of a packed winter of weekend courses and half term camps. We had to create a new platform in order to accommodate a growing range of courses and locations without complicating the experience for users. Of course we’ve been tweaking it ever since (your feedback is always welcome!) but its colourful, clean design has been positively received.

We also worked with Barclay’s creative partners on the launch of their Digital Eagles campaign, designed to get people of all ages more involved with tech and coding. Check out Code Playground…

FEBRUARY – Manchester workshop

We spent some time with Manchester Digital and group of older students at Trafford College doing a mobile app building workshop. This was the first of many bespoke workshops that were sprinkled throughout the year. They’re a lot of hard work to set up but it’s great to reach new groups of people and spread our making mission!

Making Apps in Manchester

MARCH – Wearable Tech at the Big Bang Fair

We had our work cut out creating some fantastic wearable tech for the BBC stand at the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham. The outfits were developed by Jessica Cobb, the artistic creator of our unique Rapid Prototyping and 3D Printing course, and designed for the judges of The Voice. We held a special preview event for some Fire Tech families, with kids and adults alike interacting with will.i.am’s colour-changing hat, Rita Ora’s LED dress and Tom Jones’s musical tie…

APRIL – Going Green in Bristol

We ran a special green-themed tech camp in Bristol to celebrate their position as European Green Capital 2015. Half of the spots on the courses were generously funded by Bristol 2015 Ltd. Kids and teens were able to take the core skills of our regular camps – designing video games, building robots, writing code – and apply them to environmental issues, creating games and gadgets that raised awareness and tackled important challenges related to climate change.

One of the special ‘green’ characters our Video Game Campers to use in their creations

We also moved into our FABULOUS new offices at the Fab Lab London in April and have been collaborating with their team ever since on new projects, courses and ideas.

MAY – Top Press

In May, we were grateful to receive some killer reviews from younger course participants, as they reflected on their experiences during the April school holidays. Jill Hodges, Fire Tech Camp’s founder, also featured in Prima Mag, sharing her business wisdom and experiences. We mainly shine the spotlight (quite rightly) on the amazing work done by our campers but it was nice to get some industry recognition and acknowledgement of all the hard work going on behind the scenes. Plus a photo shoot is always fun!

Jill features in Prima Magazine

JUNE – Tech for Girls

Who says tech is just for boys? Definitely not us. We welcome children and teens to Fire Tech Camp from all different backgrounds and with all different levels of experience, and of course, both boys and girls. In June, we held a special in-school workshop for girls. A group of Year 7s designed and 3D-printed their own jewellery. We hope to offer more school workshops and extra-curricular activities during 2016.

Girls in tech – 3D Printing

JULY – Residential Camps

There were so many highlights to pick from July as we embarked on a jam-packed eight week summer programme of camps and workshops, including new courses in Senior Robotics and 3D printing. However, the stand-out highlight was the launch of our first ever residential camp at Wycombe Abbey. We welcomed a truly international set of campers to a week of coding, robotics and fun and games. Next year, we’re set to go bigger with our residential programme with different camps at Sedbergh School and Wycombe Abbey. Take a look at our video highlights from last summer…

AUGUST – New Cities

As part of our mega summer programme, Fire Tech Camp took on new regions around the UK. In addition to regional camps in Manchester and Bristol and our non-stop activity in London, we launched in Reading and Cambridge. It’s part of the Fire Tech mission to bring tech and making opportunities to as many young people as possible. Our presence in more and more locations around the UK is part of this commitment and we look forward to reaching an even wider audience in 2016.

Fire Tech Campers in Reading

SEPTEMBER – School Clubs and an International Launch

Rather than winding down after the intense summer, we took things up to another level with our pilot after school club scheme. We want to bring the skills and experience of Fire Tech Camp tutors to schools and help support teachers by taking their students through and beyond the Computing curriculum. We are just wrapping up and evaluating how these first clubs went and will be rolling them out further in the next few months. Watch this space!

Moving further afield, we also set up the first international arm of Fire Tech Camp with Fire Tech Camp Italia in Milan. Let’s take making to Europe and beyond!

The Fire Tech Camp Italia team with Jill

OCTOBER – A Royal Visit

October featured a bumper half term of activities with one very special visitor. HRH the Duke of York stopped by the Fab Lab to talk to some Fire Tech campers and was naturally impressed with the inventive work he saw!

NOVEMBER – Gearing Up For 2016

November is normally a quiet time for Fire Tech Camp but we had a super series of teen coding courses in London this year and finalised a tonne of exciting courses for the next year, including: a new Saturday club for youngsters to discover all sort of different tech and cool kit – Fire Tech Crew; a new location in London – Halcyon Internationalresidential camps in April, July and August, and a new maker lab location for Cambridge for 2016. So the real highlights for November will come to fruition next year!

DECEMBER – Team Celebration

We have rounded off the year with a week of camps and two days of workshops just ahead of Christmas. We also sized up a potential new location in Oxford, enjoyed a well-earned team Christmas lunch at The Shard and launched an Instagram account.

Team photo at The Shard

Finally, to sum up a wonderful year of tech and creativity, we have produced a new video that gives you a glimpse into the creative work and activity undertaken by Fire Tech campers. Check it out and enjoy a very merry festive holiday period! Hope to see you for some tech, code and making in the New Year…