When you are passionate about making a difference in the community where you work and live, you take part in opportunities like the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee’s Celebrating G.I.R.L.S (Growing Inspirational & Responsible Leaders) event. This is exactly what Red Arrow Labs did when we recently hosted a group of young women at our Milwaukee headquarters. The visit included an afternoon of games and learning.
“I volunteered to help with the Boys & Girls Club event because I wanted to help inspire the Club girls to get involved in technology careers. I really enjoyed having the opportunity to encourage them to start thinking about how their interests could be applied to a career in technology, and how much fun they could have doing it!” - Melissa Kraner, QA analyst.
Celebrating G.I.R.L.S. is a program at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee that provides unique, enriching opportunities focused on encouraging Club girls to see their own amazing potential. Red Arrow wanted to pique these future leaders interest in the tech world and created an interactive experience highlighting the opportunities and careers available in our industry, and showing them the power and possibility awaiting them in all areas of software development.
Our Adventures Together in Technology
Red Arrow employees came together over a few short weeks to brainstorm and create the afternoon event. The goal…create a set of gamified activities, showcasing the various roles and responsibilities that exist in Software Development, and also demonstrate how our company’s core values of Collaborative, Creative and Courageous translate into the work that we do every day.
We put our thoughts and planning into action as soon the girls arrived. Their adventure began after being divided into three small groups and started with their first of three 30-minute activities.
Lego Challenge: Collaborative
Working together is a key to success, and during the Lego Challenge, the girls learned just how important collaboration is to meeting goals.
The Task: Each team member took a turn and led the others to successfully build a Lego structure.
The Challenge: No written instructions were provided, only “verbal” instructions could be given and were based on what they saw when they were shown the completed structure.
The Outcome: The team learned the importance of collaboration and respectful communications needed to successfully build the set.
Real-life Algorithms: Creative
The teams got creative in order to accomplish some desired tasks that require detailed directions…or in other words, a real-life algorithm.
The Task: They had to solve a daily task, by creating precise step-by-step instructions on how to pack a suitcase or make hot cocoa.
The Challenge: Pick a task and write out the specific steps needed to complete that task, then provide your instructions to “Computer Chris”, the event’s very own human computer.
The Outcome: “Computer Chris” ran through the steps exactly as written. Sometimes, the instructions were incomplete or the action was not as expected – and the girls had to go back to the drawing board until the expected result was achieved. They learned the value of creativity to correctly solve a problem.
“I loved how creative the girls were in the Human Computer Challenge. One of the teams had Computer Chris put the shoes on his hands while he was completing the Pack a Suitcase task. It showed me that they were having fun and learning at the same time!” – Heidi Barrette, UX Designer
Code Your Own Website: Courageous
Through focused learning and experimentation, each girl had the opportunity to sit at a computer and build a basic site during the Code Your Own Website activity.
The Task: Brainstorm what type of website you want to build and work with Red Arrow team members to figure out how to make it a reality.
The Challenge: Website development was a new concept for many of the girls.
The Outcome: They did it! The girls accepted the challenge and developed some amazing code.
"I liked going to Red Arrow Labs; they taught me how to make a website." – Denise Rojas, Club girl.
What a great event!
At the end of the afternoon, the girls had the chance to tell us what they learned and liked best about the event. We passed out dry erase markers and let them share their thoughts on our erasable walls. Here’s what they said:
“What a great experience we had. Red Arrow Labs gave our girls a warm welcome and showed them it’s possible to achieve a career in STEM. Thank you so much!”– Nefty Ramos, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee.
The afternoon sparked inspiration and further showed how technology can open up opportunities and help solve problems. These girls are the future leaders entering the tech world, and who knows, they might someday continue our mission to develop transformative solutions for companies that are transforming health.