Maker Corps: Creative Summer Jobs Bringing Making to Youth

Maker Corps: Creative Summer Jobs Bringing Making to Youth

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Maker Education Initiative CoLab TInkering Maker Corps Comp .002

Are you looking for a transformative experience serving communities, children, and families?  The Maker Education Initiative (Maker Ed) is now recruiting for our flagship program, Maker Corps. In 2013, our pilot year, 108 Maker Corps Members worked in 34 Host Sites across the nation. Collectively, they served over 90,000 youth and family members.  They provided a huge variety of making experiences and opportunities, while learning and collaborating with their teams and other Host Sites, and connecting with their local communities.

We are recruiting Maker Corps Members that will serve as mentors and role models in a variety of community settings. Corps Members will be employed at a Host Site for the summer of 2014 (exact dates to be determined by each Host Site) to engage children and families in creative projects that develop problem-solving skills, while gaining experience serving as community leaders.

Becoming a Maker Corps Member was the best decision of my life!”

Host Sites include libraries, museums, public schools, community non-profits, makerspaces, and colleges throughout the nation. See below for a map of Maker Corps Host Sites for 2014.

Spring Development Camp

Maker Corps Development Camps.012Maker Corps begins in April, with the shipment of “Possibility Boxes” to Corps Members, and our Spring Development Camp. The five-week camp includes a series of Google Hangouts, a Google community, and smaller Cohort Meetups, all geared toward building community and inspiring thinking about ways to best work with children to provide making opportunities. The Camp will also include leaders in maker education fields and last year’s Corps Members, who have earned the title of Maker Corps “Mentors.”  Development Camp continues throughout the summer Host Site placements for further support, sharing, collaboration, and inspiration.

“I loved the energy of the Development Camp. Everyone posted their work and ideas, and it was great to see how excited everyone was about what they were making. It was great feeling like I was getting to know people just by participating in the Google Community.”   

What Is a “Possibility Box?”

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As a foundational part of our Development Camp, each Corps Member receives a Possibility Box full of materials and tools designed to spark exploration, experimentation, and project development. In our pilot year, the Box ranked among the most transformative, inspiring, and community-building aspects of Maker Corps.

Maker Corps Possibility Bear

The Possibility Box makes it easy to dive right into making things, from simple to complex, from low to high-tech.  Contents range from inexpensive art, craft, and electrical materials to more sophisticated electronic components. Areas of exploration include paper and “squishy” circuits, sewing, knitting, hot glue creations, artbots, e-textiles, clothing and accessories, jewelry, robots, animatronics, Arduino and Intel Galileo development boards. A large amount of emphasis is placed on freely developed projects.  Most of all, it is an invitation for Corps Members to play, tinker, build, and discover possibilities.

“Seeing everyone else’s ideas and creativity was infectious. It was really valuable to see what other shared and it motivated me and made me excited to get making!”

Maker Corps Possibility BOX Projects A few of the projects shared in the first week of Spring 2013 Development Camp

Cohorts: Getting to Know Your Team, Collaborating with Other Sites

Maker Corps MAKE blog post pic comp Cohorts make the Corps even more personal, Corps Members are grouped with their future teammates and co-workers, along with others from similar Host Sites, to form small cohorts. These groups meet regularly to discuss and share ideas, respond to Development Camp topics and “big questions,” and have fun getting to know each other. Cohorts report their thinking and ideas to the larger community, helping to guide the Camp’s discussions and topics.

“Meeting with my cohort group was extremely valuable. Not only did I get new ideas as to completing certain projects or make them better, but simply the interaction with people who are assigned to the same project kept things fresh, new, and exciting.”

Making Connections, Making a Difference

Maker Corps summer 2013 comp

Maker Corps Members infuse new energy and possibilities into Host Site programming. They truly make a difference for their Host Sites and the youth and families they serve.  Learn more about the impact Maker Corps made in our pilot year here.

Maker Corps fosters collaboration, camaraderie, and lasting friendships among Host Site staff and Corps Members.  These connections, along with advancing to become Corps Mentors after summer, greatly help to expand future employment and volunteer opportunities.

With mere words I cannot tell you how much Maker Corps improved our programming this summer, and how much it was an amazing learning experience for all of us!Jeff Sturges, Maker Corps Host Site Mt. Elliott Makerspace

We were blown away by the energy and ideas that our Maker Corps brought to us this summerCheryl McCallum, Children’s Museum of Houston



MCM Recruitment Flyer 2.02.14_Page_1If you’d like to help spread the word about Maker Corps opportunities, please download a Maker Corps flyer here to print and post.

About The Maker Education Initiative

 Maker Ed CoLab Tinkering Tent.002The Maker Education Initiative (Maker Ed) is a non-profit founded by Dale Dougherty, CEO of Maker Media, established to create more opportunities for all youth to develop confidence, creativity, and interest in science, technology, engineering, math, art, and learning as a whole through making. We want young people to join — and eventually lead — the growing Maker Movement.

Cognizant, Intel, Maker Media, and Pixar are Founding Sponsors of Maker Ed.  Cognizant and Google for Entrepreneurs are Lead Sponsors of the Maker Corps Program.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

Maker Education Initiative Director of Education and Communications @MakerEdOrg @sdavee

View more articles by Steve Davee


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