Monday, January 02, 2012
They don't want to play with Barbie's little motorized car.
They want to take it apart.
Seems that at a young age, before we teach them makeup and skirts, they want to get their hands dirty.
Unfortunately, many of us as parents will discourage this behavior.
I've long held, even with my own daughters, that no child should be channeled into any behavior that isn't "normal" for them. My daughter refused to wear a dress or skirt until she was 14 years old. Her mother was mortified.
But she's a little girl.....
Of course she is....but she's a little girl that took her watch apart to see what made it tick....literally. I told her mom that we were lucky she didn't take an interest in veterinary medicine.
"Honey, have you seen the dog...?"
Today, she is a mechanical engineering student....and yes, she will wear a dress when protocol dictates.
But this isn't a lesson on parenting. I am absolutely the wrong source to offer advice in that arena. I've had major failures in the distant past. One thing I can do, as I visit families and set up computers for them, is to recognize the "hacker gene" when I see it.
And more and more, I am seeing it in little girls.
And for that reason, we've set up the HeliOS Mentoring Program for Girls. Starting in January, The HeliOS Project will choose one girl per calendar quarter, between the ages of 8 and 12, and mentor them in all things computer. From the hardware to the software that controls it, we will teach them as far as they want to be taught.
Of course, the child has to show a legitimate interest in this area. We talk extensively with the parent(s) to see if there is any behavior that might indicate an interest in this area.
Surprisingly, even for us, there is an abundance of it. We got a good indication of that during our last two Camp HeliOS events. The girls showed equal or superior aptitude and curiosity to the boys.
So our "project girl" for this quarter is named Ashlynn. Her mom, Ciara, is excited about the prospect of Ashlynn becoming part of our program. (for privacy reasons, we never use last names - ken)
"She loves computers", her mom said. "She asks me questions I wouldn't expect from a 5th grader."
Ashlynn attends the fifth grade at Harmony School of Political Science.
She carries a straight A average and has not only shown academic promise, but exhibits the traits of a leader.
Ashlynn received a laptop from HeliOS three months ago and we pretty much knew right then that she would be our first mentoring project.
Ashlynn will also be given a "scholarship" for Camp HeliOS this year. We waive enrollment fees for up to 40 percent of the registrants if they show a true hardship in paying the fee. We are assured that since Ashlynn is a Linux User, she won't be asking her mom to spend the saved money on operating system upgrades or antivirus software.
She's a smart girl....one of many we will present to you in the coming months.
blather and mumbling provided by Ken Starks at 7:34 AM