Crossfield youth interested in coding, programming and all things technology will have the opportunity to play with robots over spring break.
The Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie (BGCA) is heading north on April 7 to offer its Robo-Tech program to youth aged 10 to 15 in Crossfield and area.
Robo-Tech will run from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Crossfield and District Community Centre. According to BGCA Youth Coordinator Sammy Morros, this is an expansion of a program the club previously offered in Airdrie.
“It’s an education-based program that is all about technology,” she said. “This version of the program specifically focuses on robots – building them, [programming them] and putting them through their paces.”
Morros added this will be the first time BGCA has expanded its programming to Crossfield over a school break – something she says the club intends to do more of in the future.
Participants will not only build robots, according to Morros, but also flex their engineering brains by learning some coding, programming and beginner animation basics.
“Participants build obstacle courses to use them, which is super fun,” she said. “We have some techy things for kids and teens we'll bring with us so they have a chance to experience it in a fun way but also learn the tech side, coding and those kinds of things.”
The JIMU robot kits used in BGCA’s program come completely disassembled, according to Morros, and the participants will follow along from a computer to build them from the ground up.
Once the bots are built, Morros said the kids will learn to interact with and control them using a smartphone app.
“We have several different models, so dragons with wings that flap, a unicorn that has a horn that changes colour…we have the original bot, which is a little cube-looking thing and then we have a few that are transformers,” she said. “You can make a rhino, a scorpion – they’re convertible into different things and programmed and controlled from a phone app once they’re built.”
The deadline to register for Robo-Tech is April 6 at 5 p.m., as long as spots are still available. Morros said there is room for approximately 15 kids.
“The Town of Crossfield was gracious enough to give us that nice, big space at the community centre so we can definitely fit some more if we see the demand for it,” she said.
In terms of COVID-19 health and safety protocols, Morros said socially distancing will be enforced, mask-wearing will be mandatory and everyone who enters the community centre will undergo a COVID-19 screening questionnaire, a temperature check and sanitization process.