Geek Squad Summer Academy is a multi-day summer camp where kids get hands-on opportunities to learn about technology along side with Geek Squad Agents. Now in its 4th year, the idea for a Geek Squad Summer Academy originated from one female Geek Squad Agent, Moira Hardek, who wanted to encourage more young women to be interested in technology. The camp initially started out as a camp for girls only. But since then it has expanded to co-ed camps as well, with 30 camps in cities across the United States. But it isn’t just Moira who was excited about the prospect of a summer camp where kids could geek out. Moira explains that in each city different Geek Squad agents have been very eager to be apart of the camp, because like herself, they wish that camps like these had existed when they were kids. But all in all, Geek Squad Summer Academy is designed for kids with no real technological background.
Hardek explains “Learning technology can be boring if it’s not taught hands on.”
At Geek Squad Summer Academy, the Geek Squad leaders have devised fun and quirky ways to teach kids about technology – after all, it is supposed to be camp – not school! For example, kids learn how to build computers while wearing chef hats. When learning about networks, routers and viruses, kids get to use balloons to represent data moving across a network. On the very first day of camp a PC basic class teaches kids about what each part of the computer is. By the second day of camp kids are already building their own computers. Other classes include a digital photography class that teaches kids how to edit their own photos, in another class they learn how to make their own videos, as well as learning how to create music tracks using Garage Band.
This past summer about 70% of the campers were young women, with most of the kids being middle school and high school students, and over 1200 Geek Squad agents were involved this year too. When I was a kid growing up, summer “computer” camps did exist but they had a bad stigma attached to them. It’s great to see that Geek Squad has come up with an original way to get more youth interested in learning about technology, especially when many of these kids might otherwise never have such a hands-on opportunity to do so. It’s experiences like these that inspire kids to be engineers, products designers and to pursue careers in the technology fields.