Setting the Pace

Though many organizations went online this spring, Montana’s Code Girls United is setting the pace in a cyber-based world:

  • With their annual, regional Northwest Challenge canceled May 2-3, teams instead are competing in the Technovation Challenge, an online competition of 20,000 girls worldwide.
  • Faced with canceling their summer fundraising event, they’re now planning not one, but multiple, Facebook, Google, and GoFundMe fundraisers.
  • When weekly classroom sessions ended in March, teams met through Zoom, like others. What’s noteworthy: Code Girls are 4th-8th grade girls, learning computer science and coding on their own time, to gain high-tech skills.
  • The Kalispell teams created business plans and coded apps to solve societal issues, then shot and edited video demonstrating their projects, from their individual homes.

Founder Marianne Smith notes, “It was difficult coordinating with the girls when they weren’t together—for example, who would edit, what would they include, how they could video their app working, if they didn’t have a device.”

Code Girls are determined, however. The nonprofit helps develop skills in technology, presenting, problem solving, organization, teamwork, business planning, and goal setting, Smith says. “Most importantly, they gain self-confidence.”