Online Coding Camp Gives Kids Valuable Skills and Parents Time to Work 

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Since 2015, RBC’s Building Digital Literacy (BDL) team has run a successful Teach Youth To Code (TTYC) program, facilitating camps to more than 200 schools in Canada. They were just beginning preparations for their fifth summer season when COVID-19 hit.

Like many other workplaces around the world, RBC parents were now balancing their careers with homeschooling and childcare responsibilities, and adjusting to the fact that summer camps and activities would no longer be an option.

The RBC team saw this as an opportunity to both alleviate stress and create a positive bonding experience, and worked quickly to turn their TTYC program into a virtual camp for the children of employees.

“Many RBC parents became childcare workers and educators, while trying to continue their full times job,” said Christopher Higgs, VP, Digital Omni & Mobile Technology is the father of three. “For the RBC Teach Youth To Code team, this was the perfect opportunity to take the program online, alleviate some of that stress, and create a positive bonding experience for RBC families.”

In just a few weeks, a team of RBC volunteers from the Building Digital Literacy program in the Technology and Operations team created and launched the Virtual Kids Code Camp – a series of 8 full-week virtual camps for children designed to help them understand and build digital literacy skills.

More than 200 kids from senior kindergarten to Grade 8 participated in the program, learning a basic foundation of coding through online resources such as code.org and scratch. BDL facilitators, along with 40 more RBC employee volunteers, planned a variety of lessons for different age groups and learning styles to ensure a fun and interactive experience.

According to CBC Parents, some experts are calling coding “the new literacy.” It is said to be so important that every child will need to know the basics in order to excel in our rapidly changing world. It helps develop problem solving and computational thinking skills that can be applied in other areas.

“I was so thrilled to see that RBC was promoting coding to the young kids and offering summer camp sessions,” says Reshma Premji, Senior Manager – Messaging, Sharing Discovery, Support at RBC and parent of 5-year-old Kayla who participated in the program.  “We had great facilitators who were patient and ensured all the kids had equal share time. The exercises were fun and short which was just enough to keep my child interested. In fact we were able to get more done than we anticipated! We look forward to many more code camps!”