Frequently asked questions
Can my child attend a CoderDojo event?
CoderDojo Twin Cities students must be:
- Between 8 and 17 years old
- Between 7 and 17 years old for mentors’ children
- Accompanied by a parent or guardian if under 13, for the entire event
- Registered for the event using Eventbrite
When is the next CoderDojo?
We publicize the next event on our homepage; we also have a comprehensive schedule. You can sign up to be notified when tickets are available or new dates are announced. It is a low-volume list and we will not sell your contact information to anyone.
When do you release tickets?
I heard tickets go fast. How fast?
On Sunday, April 26 we set a new record: forty-five seconds. It is essential that you are online precisely at 6 PM to have a shot at tickets.
There’s a waiting list for the event we wanted to attend. What can I do?
First, add yourself to the waiting list. We keep track of which families have been waitlisted multiple times and provide early access to a future event—but only if you’ve added your names to the list. We almost always find ourselves with cancellations and late mentor signups, so we release additional tickets to the waiting list more often than not.
Second, tell any of your would-be mentor friends to volunteer. Our event capacity is currently limited by the number of mentors, so every participating mentor opens up to three spots for students. The more mentors, the more students we can serve. Please direct prospective mentors to this page or our mentor sign-up form if they are interested.
Third, consider volunteering yourself. You don't have to be a coding expert or a professional educator to make a difference as a mentor. Please contact us if you're unsure.
Are you looking for more locations to host CoderDojo?
Yes and no. We have a wonderful venue for CoderDojoTC that meets our needs, but our chapter alone cannot hope to meet the demand for CoderDojo in the metro area. Our vision is to catalyze and grow the CoderDojo movement throughout the Twin Cities and beyond, by running our chapter successfully and helping new chapters that are getting started. Please contact us if you are interested in helping the movement grow.
I want to start a CoderDojo chapter. Will you help?
Is CoderDojo safe?
Yes! Protecting the safety of children attending CoderDojo Twin Cities is important to us. Mandatory background checks are performed for all volunteers prior to events.
For children under 13, we require that a parent remains on site for the duration of the event (though you can relax in our lounge areas and enjoy the free wifi).
Do I need to be an expert programmer?
No. A good CoderDojo mentor is supportive, first and foremost. Sometimes, our students can learn more from a mentor that is learning themselves, rather than an expert. Experience writing some kind of software, however, is useful—just don’t worry if you haven’t spent the last 10 years programming in Scratch!
What kind of time commitment is required?
Mentors sign up for only the events they can commit to. There is no minimum level of commitment, except we do not allow mentors to participate in only part of an event. Mentors are expected onsite at 12:45 PM on event days, wrapping up around 3:45 PM. Expect to spend about three hours on the day of an event, with perhaps a few hours’ work preparing for it earlier that week if you are new.
I’m new to this. Is there training or other support?
CoderDojo mentors meet regularly to discuss previous events and share what works and what doesn’t. We welcome new mentors to these sessions as a way to learn more about CoderDojo. However, there is no replacement for simply attending an event and learning first-hand.
We staff our events with a mix of veteran and newbie mentors—we support each other. There is also an event staff available and a telephone hotline set up for instant assistance.
I have a child that is attending CoderDojo. Can I be a mentor at the same time?
Yes! Just let us know if you’d prefer to be in the same or different groups. Also, please note that you can register your child ahead of public registration (see the next question below).
Do mentors get preferential registration for students?
Yes. Mentors can register up to three students at an event where they are mentoring—guaranteed. Mentors can pre-register these students before the public ticket release when they sign up as a mentor for that event. After public registration opens, mentors must first add students to the waiting list, then contact us with the names of the students so tickets can be released.
Note that every mentor at an event allows three children to attend (given our 3:1 ratio) so please be thoughtful when registering students. We suggest using this perk for family members only.
How do I hear about and register to mentor at events?
When you volunteer we add you to a mentors-announce at coderdojotc.org mailing list. Notices about upcoming events and mentor meetings are sent to this address. Please add it to your address book or whitelist so that you receive our messages.
You will need to register separately for every event you wish to mentor at, using the links we provide in our emails.
What is a coordinator?
Coordinators are volunteers that keep our events running smoothly, handling registration, name tags, parent questions, and helping our students.
What is the time commitment involved?
Coordinators must be onsite on event day at 12:30 PM, one hour before the event starts, to help set up registration and welcome new mentors. Typically, coordinators have completed end-of-event tasks by 3:45 PM.
Do you need more coordinators?
At this point, mentors remain our most critical need. We have a small group of regular volunteers that coordinates room assignments, registration, event help, and clean-up. We’d still like to hear from you, though.
Do coordinators get preferential registration for students?
Yes (please read the related question in the mentoring section). We ask that coordinators using this benefit use it sparingly, since a volunteer coordinator does not help our mentor-to-student ratios and contribute to the number of tickets we can make available.
Is CoderDojo Twin Cities interested in partnering?
Absolutely. We have assembled several great partners already, and we are interested in talking about other opportunities. Please contact us.
Are you a registered nonprofit in the state of Minnesota?
CoderDojo Twin Cities is a program of Code Savvy, a registered 501(c)(3) Minnesota nonprofit.
Do you need laptops or other hardware?
Yes! We need:
- Still-functioning laptops, no more than three years old
- USB mice
- Mac power supplies, the original MagSafe variety
If you’re not sure we need what you have, please contact us.
What about financial donations?
We operate with very lean finances—our staff is comprised of volunteers who put in extra time on nights & weekends. We occasionally do need to buy laptop batteries, power supplies, Arduino kits, and miscellaneous consumables, like lanyards for our name tags.
We welcome your tax-deductible online contributions for CoderDojoTC via Code Savvy’s secure online donation form.
Please look at Code Savvy’s other programs as well to best match your donation with the causes you are interested in.