Imagine that when you were a kid, someone told you that your dreams are important for the world and that what you do matters right now.
Now, match that with an epic adventure of creating future realities, throw in rockstar mentors, entrepreneurship skills training, tech, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, and you have Dream Tank.
Big things happen when someone imagines an awesome new reality. While adults can do this, we are often stuck in a system that is limited in its thinking and driven by incrementalism. We are oppressed by the now, rather than inspired by what could be.
Kids see things in a different way. Take a look at the student climate strike that a 16-year-old girl in Sweden started. Greta Thunberg, who is currently on the cover of TIME magazine, started striking from school on Fridays last fall. She started a movement where 1263 strikes happened in 107 countries last Friday, May 24. The message is clear: why should I be studying for a future I won’t even have, so let’s take collective action now!
Dream Tank is a summer program designed for kids and teens who want to launch and implement their ideas to address real-world challenges. Like many other entrepreneurial things I’ve been involved in, it has its roots in Boulder. It is currently expanding to offer year-round accelerator-for-kids-and-teens programming through summer camps, after-school programs, and a homeschool program for teens.
This summer, Dream Tank has partnered up with different Boulder institutions such as the Museum of Boulder, The Riverside, Niche Workspaces, and Peregrine Crypto Cafe to create specific activities for different interests. Each program is designed for kids to choose a social or environmental issue they want to address. All of the summer programs end in a demo day event where the community is invited to listen, support, and partner with the kids.
Amy and I support Dream Tank because we want to support radically innovative new ideas for the future. If you want your kid or teen to have a voice, have fun, and learn some tools that can make their dreams a reality, sign them up for a summer camp at Dream Tank.
Teaching kids to program is not an easy task – their attention span is short and what they are able to accomplish in a brief period of time is often uninspiring which results in them losing attention quickly.
Robots help a lot with this!
The Orbotix team has turned their Sphero into a fantastic programming aid to introduce coding to kids as young as 4th grade. In about an hour kids will be commanding their robot to drive geometric patterns while also learning a bit about angles, degrees, time and distance calculations, loops and conditional branching. If your my age, you might remember Logo and turtle graphics. It turns out to be really cool to toss a robot into the mix, instead of just a computer screen.
Coding is done via a simple app on either Android or iOS devices and sent to the Sphero via Bluetooth. The younger kids learn to program using a simple scripting language developed by Orbotix called MacroLab – the older kids learn BASIC which Sphero can interpret to do some complex tasks.
Orbotix is hosting a “Sphero Rangers” event at the Google offices here in Boulder this Saturday from 11am to 2pm. Robots and programming devices will be provided – but bring your smartphone if you want to use your own. Attendees will also be able to get a Sphero at a discounted price. If interested sign up here: https://www.meetup.com/