Celebrating International Volunteer Day with the Code Club community

Code Club would not be the success it is today without the dedication and hard work of you, our brilliant volunteer community! To celebrate International Volunteer Day (5 December), we asked volunteers across the globe to share why they volunteer and what Code Club means to them.

The UN declared International Volunteer Day an annual celebration in 1985 and it provides us with the perfect opportunity to recognise the amazing volunteers working tirelessly to bring Code Club to their local communities.

Over the past decade, we’ve seen volunteers join our community from 160 countries around the world and we’d like to say thanks to each and every one of you who are helping to put the power of digital making into the hands of young people.

Voices from around the world

Tayla Da Coster

Tayla Da Coster runs a Code Club in Perth, Australia. Her Code Club journey began when she saw the Moonhack competition online.

“I immediately thought of our students and how valuable it would feel to be a part of a national club where they shared common interests with students from around the world.”

Code Club is important to her because of how easy it is to access.

“It accounted for all student’s abilities, and I was blown away by how many languages we could view the PDFs in. Being a part of something global was very special for everyone!”

Kaloi Duncan Saitoti

Kaloi Duncan Saitoti runs Code Clubs with Maasai communities in Kenya. Volunteering with a Code Club is important to him because it gives children the opportunity to reach for their dreams.

“The power of coding skills, and computing in general, is helping kids empower themselves by making their dreams come true.”

Eirini Mbouti

Eirini Mbouti runs a Code Club in Leanyer, Northern Territory, Australia. She was inspired to establish a Code Club by her students.

“Their curiosity, imagination, and persistence has enabled me to set up a Code Club in our school. The students are very interested in coding, which has led me to learn more about coding. I also love to see the students’ excitement and amazement when I introduce a new code or function.” 

Why volunteer with Code Club? 

There are so many benefits to volunteering at a Code Club, including learning new skills, boosting your sense of well-being, and feeling more connected to your local community.

No previous coding experience is required to run a Code Club. You can learn alongside the club members and our free projects and resources help to take the work out of planning sessions. Start your volunteering journey today by signing up to one of our free training webinars.

And to all the current Code Club educators and volunteers across the world, we extend a heartfelt thank you for all that do!

Help us continue the spirit of International Volunteer Day by sharing your best Code Club volunteer moments with us on Twitter or Facebook. We love hearing about what Code Club means to you!

Take part in our Clubs Conference

We are excited to announce that Code Club and CoderDojo will host the first-ever Clubs Conference from Friday 24 to Saturday 25 March 2023 at Churchill College, Cambridge and we’d like to invite you to join us!

The Clubs Conference is a participatory event that gives volunteers and educators the chance to celebrate the achievements of our community and explore the innovative ways adults are supporting young people to create with technology.

What you can look forward to

On Friday 24 March, you’ll have the opportunity to register early, enjoy club showcases, and attend an informal networking event to connect with other community members. 

On Saturday 25 March, expect a day filled with learning opportunities that includes:

  • Thought-provoking talks and keynotes
  • Hands-on, easy-to-follow workshops across a range of programming topics
  • Plenty of informal chats, meetups, and opportunities for you to connect with others

If the pandemic taught us anything, it is the value of connecting with others in person. Join us to learn from community members running clubs in diverse contexts, develop your creative making skills, and share your own insights.

Contribute to the Clubs Conference

We’re putting together a full and exciting schedule of participatory activities led by members of the Code Club, CoderDojo, and Raspberry Pi Foundation communities. This is where you come in — we’d love to invite you to host a session!

This call is open to all registrants. Let us know your idea for a session on the registration form below and we will be in touch to hear more. We’re also interested in hearing about any topics you’d like to see explored at the conference, even if you aren’t able to deliver the session yourself!

We are looking for the following content:

  • Club demos (Friday afternoon only)
  • Posters
  • Workshops
  • Discussion sessions
  • Presentations
  • Ignite talks

Interested in attending the conference?

Although we would like to welcome everyone to join us in person in Cambridge, the venue offers limited capacity. To help manage the numbers of volunteers and educators attending the conference, we are providing an expression of interest form before tickets become available in the new year.

If you plan to attend or contribute to the event in Cambridge in March 2023, please fill in the form below. We hope to welcome all those who wish to attend and contribute to the conference, but we are unable to guarantee this at this time.

To help those who would love to participate but feel the costs of travelling could prohibit them from attending, we are including the option for people to apply for a travel bursary.

We are only able to offer a contribution towards travel and accommodation to a limited number of community members who would otherwise be unable to attend the conference. To be eligible for consideration, you must:

  • Be registered as a host or volunteer at a Code Club or Dojo within the UK or Ireland
  • Be available to attend the Clubs Conference in Cambridge
  • Have submitted an application to attend the conference

If you are based outside of the UK or Ireland and have any questions about the Clubs Conference or bursary scheme, please contact Isabel Ronaldson, our Global Community Coordinator, on isabel.ronaldson@raspberrypi.org

Join remotely

To make the conference accessible to our wider CoderDojo and Code Club community, and for those unable to attend in person, we are planning to live stream some of the talks and keynotes online. If you are unable to attend the event in Cambridge and would like to be kept informed of the online elements of the event, please register using this form.

We’re looking forward to hearing from you about the type of content you’d like to see at your #ClubsCon23!

Rich Hind gets back to Code Club and shares his tips for running a dynamic club!

Long-term community member Rich Hind took a break from Code Club, but in 2021 he resumed his adventure with code and launched a new club at Congleton Library in Cheshire, England. Rich shares his experience and advice on getting back to running a Code Club.

Community member, Rich Hind

Starting a Code Club after a break, or even starting one from scratch (pardon the pun), can feel like a daunting task. However, you have so much support around you from the Code Club team and other volunteers across the country (there’s a whole gaggle of us on Twitter to help!).

I remember launching my first Code Club in 2016, and facing that first group of children felt very intimidating. In some ways, those feelings were there again when I started up my new club in 2021, at Congleton Library in Cheshire, England. 

It had been over three years since I had run my last club, and it was now in a new location where no one knew my previous achievements with so many cohorts of kids.

It can feel overwhelming, but there are several things that work to your advantage if you are returning after a break.

The kids want to be there!

This isn’t your usual after-school club. The crowd you attract to this are going to be very keen on this specific area, and the interest and engagement will be very different to something that is considered ‘school’.

Some will be absolutely new to the idea of coding, some will have had a go on their own (some might even give you a run for your money!), but they want to be in the group. They’ve chosen to join you!

Some members of Congleton Code Club

You are building on a foundation of experience

Whether in the past you have run one module of the Code Club materials or you have run a club for years, you have experience you can build upon which is absolutely going to hold you in good stead. I found that within ten minutes of standing in front of the class again, my muscle memory kicked in and a lot of old knowledge came flooding to the front of my mind — for example, how to encourage kids to keep focused on a task! We all know that sometimes that can be hard.

I will always break down bigger tasks into chunks and piece them up, or get the class to break a big task into steps. I often get the children to act out what we are trying to achieve. For example, in the Scratch project Lost in space, I get one child to be the rocket and one to be the Earth, and we physically walk through each step in space to make a list of what each bit of code needs to do.

Lost in Space Scratch project

If Code Club is entirely new to you, why not use the expertise of others? You can find a fully formed session all ready for you to deliver in the first session pack. There are so many resources available to you. Make sure you explore the resource library.

Write it all down

When running my last Code Club, I started a blog to write down my thoughts, ideas, and plans for future lessons, and it worked well (until the coronavirus pandemic). I would recommend doing some pre- and post-work for every session, as this helped me remember what worked (and what didn’t), along with ideas and improvements for the future.

My pre-work is:

  1. Running through the lesson plan from beginning to end. This jogs the brain into remembering what you need to do, and allows me to make notes on where I think the stumbling blocks are for the children. Sometimes it’s good as it lets you let them make mistakes and figure out the steps!
  2. I screenshot and print out the sections of the code, and have them to hand — this helps me as I have a fully formed version of each sprite’s/background element’s code and I can refer to it quickly if I want a quick refresher or to compare it to a child’s code to ensure it’s running smoothly.

My post-work is:

  1. I make some notes when I get home about what worked, and what didn’t. This can be what the class struggled with, and what they excelled at. It can also include things about where you thought they would struggle and they didn’t, or bits you were surprised they found tough. Every child is different.
  2. I write it up as a blog post, and put in bits of code and screenshots and chat about how it went. I now refer to older blog posts and compare years, see how the group did and what the differences are, and build upon the previous sessions.

I hope that your new clubs, be they completely brand new or ones you have restarted, run fantastically! The whole Code Club volunteer community are rooting for you and are always happy to answer any questions. Come and say hello to me on Twitter.

You can inspire young people by setting up a Code Club in your community. Find out how!