Youth from Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton and the Kootenays were able to dig into two evenings of online learning and connection through United Way Southern Interior B.C.’s <CODE>anagan program. (Submitted)<code> </code>

Youth from Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton and the Kootenays were able to dig into two evenings of online learning and connection through United Way Southern Interior B.C.’s anagan program. (Submitted)

CODEanagan gives youth a chance to learn about technology

The youth, aged 12 to 21, built their own WordPress sites and developed blogging ideas

Okanagan’s youth got a chance to go behind the scenes of the modern age thanks to the United Way Southern Interior B.C.’s CODEanagan program this month.

The first of this year’s bootcamps for the tech education program, in partnership with Accelerate Okanagan and Okanagan College, taught how to build a WordPress site from scratch.

The program aims to provide an education for local youths who may face barriers to accessing learning opportunities like this, providing it for no cost and with support to inspire them to explore careers in technology.

“To watch youth make connections with each other and with potential mentors is priceless, even when we are operating virtually like this,” said Jude Brunt, manager of events & special projects at United Way SIBC.

The ‘Influence Your World workshop ran over the third week of February, and at the end of the two three-hour workshops each of the youth enrolled, who ranged in age from 12 to 21 years-old, had built their own WordPress site and started using it for their blogging.

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Students joined the program from Penticton, Vernon, Kelowna, the South Okanagan and even out to the Kootenays.

“It was wonderful getting to learn from everyone. Once I get a few blogs up and refine the website I learned to build, I’m going to share it with everyone to increase exposure for my ideas,” said Shael Narayan, a 17-year-old from Oliver.

In 2020, the United Way’s planned programs had to be postponed due to COVID-19 preventing in-person gatherings. The program was changed to allow for reduced access to shared equipment and materials, but the outreach to youth could cover a wider geographical area once it switched to online content.

Just like in the previous in-person bootcamps, all participants received free pizza both nights via online codes generously donated by Papa Johns Pizza, and all received a Steam online Gift Card at the end in lieu of their usual in-person completion award.

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The next set of CODEanagan bootcamps are planned for spring 2021, and updates and availability will be posted on the website at www.codeanagan.com.

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