The Maker Education Initiative’s Young Makers program brings together a community of young people, ages 8-18, of varying backgrounds, interests, and skill levels, with mentors and a space to make. In small clubs, participants work together throughout the season to design and make a youth-chosen, open-ended project, culminating in an opportunity to share and exhibit at a showcase event. Young Makers was started in 2010, as a small collaboration between Make, Pixar, and Exploratorium in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The mission of the program is to develop youth into confident and capable individuals through the process of making. Young Makers communities embrace an open culture that encourages cross-disciplinary efforts, peer-to-peer teaching and learning, and the importance of both hard and soft skills. Because the focus is on the process of making, sharing, and exhibiting – not competition, there are no winners or losers, just fantastic makers and learners who innovate and collaborate to create something great.
A 12-to-16-week Young Makers program consists of:
- Weekly or bi-weekly club work sessions with mentor-supported youth, organized by club managers at local garages, community spaces, or makerspaces
- Monthly regional meetings, with multiple clubs in the region, at any youth-based community organization. Monthly meetings consist of a mix of sharing sessions, project or skill workshops, and guest makers
- Project work, aimed towards exhibiting at a showcase event like Maker Faire
- Professional development and training sessions, led by Maker Ed staff, for mentors, club managers, regional coordinators, and parents/guardians
- Project or skill workshops at monthly meetings, as well as additional project/activity ideas