Camp highlights technical careers for local youth

Special to The Times

Best Buy’s Geek Squad is in the middle of its eleventh Geek Squad Academy summer program. The program’s aim is to inspire underserved youth and teens to consider technology careers and help address the nation’s shortage of qualified science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workers.

Tech Camp 2017 was held at Eagles Landing High School in McDonough June 21-22. Special photo

Tech Camp 2017 was a Geek Squad Academy camp hosted by 100 Boys of Code Inc, (100 BOC) a non-profit community outreach organization which serves youth in McDonough and surrounding communities. “I am so grateful for Best Buy’s commitment to providing non-profit organizations, like 100 BOC, with the resources to inspire youth to pursue tech and STEM endeavors,” said the organization’s Founder and Executive Director, Dee Carswell. “I am also appreciative of the wonderful leadership of Principal Gabriel Crerie and his administration at Eagles Landing High School. This event would not have happened without Dr. Rusty Shirley and Ms. Dwanda Brew being so supportive of this STEM initiative. It truly takes a village to provide an event like this. We have great parents and volunteers who believe in our mission of ensuring that our kids have the access and exposure they need. Those individuals, along with Best Buy, Geek Squad Academy, Eagles Landing High School, the Conyers, GA Chapter of 100 Girls of Code, I am Character Youth Foundation, and Union Grove Middle School were excited and eager to help make this possible. In order to compete and succeed in the 21st century workforce, our youth must have significant and recurrent exposure to STEM educational opportunities,” said Dee Carswell. Ms. Carswell reports that she has begun working on a 3-week summer tech camp for 2018. She says there are challenges for students who reside south of the City of Atlanta. 100 BOC was formed to address the challenges involving the lack of resources and opportunities for youth in and near McDonough.

In addition to the garnering the support of Best Buy and Geek Squad Academy, 100 BOC has gained the support of Eagles Landing Country Club, local Atlanta law firm Moore & Hawthorne, LLC, corporate partners such as Stanley Black and Decker, Walmart, Aldi, Oriental Trading, Sea Perch and the Office of Naval Research, Bird Brain Technologies, Generation On, as well as employee volunteers and donations from Bank of America.

At Tech Camp 2017, students explored the ins and outs of technology through subjects like digital citizenship, digital music, computer programming and robotics, as well as 3D printing and circuitry. “The response was overwhelmingly positive. Parents and students are asking me to do this again next summer, but to make it longer,” said Carswell.