While a group of Traction Bandits make their way south towards the border on the Bandit Tour, another group of Bandits “gone rogue” will be making their way north. For the second year in a row, Bandit Gone Rogue will be stopping in British Columbia to bring the excitement of coding to elementary school kids.
“I grew up in a small town on Vancouver Island and have always wanted to try to get small towns the same experiences kids in the city have. Access to special programs are more difficult for them as they are often remote and don’t have the budget to bring in special organizations,” says original rogue bandit Caitlin Tuba. She’s a lead strategist at Traction on Demand and the Vancouver chapter lead of Girls Learning Code, which also recently took part in a road trip across Canada.
Last year, the Rogue Bandits headed east to Chilliwack, Princeton and Merritt; this September 26th, they’ll be starting out on the Sunshine Coast in Powell River at Westview Elementary, stopping off in Davis Bay at Davis Bay Elementary and ending back in Burnaby at Buckingham Elementary.
The Bandits joining Caitlin for the ride are Laura Zuluaga, Torq consultant, and Dave Rees, data architect. Laura’s interest in coding stems from her childhood experience. “I want to encourage young girls to learn code. My parents are both engineers but when my brother and I were growing up, I was never encouraged to pursue this as a career. I want to show that everyone is capable. I don’t want girls to doubt themselves,” she says.
With two children in B.C.’s public school system, Dave sees the value of bringing coding into the classroom. He says, “The intention is not to teach hard core coding skills. It’s more about exposing them to coding and dismissing the misconceptions that coding is about typing a bunch of fancy characters on a keyboard. It’s more about how to problem solve differently and think logically. In the classroom, we’ll be treating coding more like a puzzle or game.”
It’s clear that the kids lucky enough to get a visit from the Rogue Bandits are in for a good time. And with an overnight stop at Grandma Tuba’s and DJ Davie Rees playing all the greatest hits in the car, it’s clear the Rogue Bandits are too.