Bravo LT Hosts Raspberry Pi Camp

At Bravo LT, we believe STEM education is key to strengthening West Michigan from the inside out.

That’s why we were pleased to host our second-annual free Raspberry Pi Youth Camp which gave local students an opportunity to explore computer programming in a fun and engaging way.

The free event, held August 9 and 11, 2016 at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, was powered by our developers, who generously volunteered their time to teach camp participants about the Python programming language and Raspberry Pi devices—inexpensive credit card-sized computers that plug into TVs or monitors and use keyboards and mice.

This year’s camp kicked off with an inspiring, informative presentation by Bravo LT developer Mike Nishizawa on the history—and the sheer power—of computer programming. Mike walked campers through some of the amazing innovations that took us from Turing Machines to the 1969 moon landing to the future of quantum computing.

Following Mike’s presentation, Bravo LT president and founder Ed Nausieda wrapped up the day by helping students assemble their Raspberry Pi devices. It was fun watching the children excitedly explore the NOOBS operating system’s built-in features, such as LibreOffice, the command-line interface, and—last but not least—games!

On day two, Bravo LT developers Dustin Clifford and Dave Schoutens introduced campers to the world of programming. During Dustin’s presentation, students worked in Scratch and Python to create a sequence for an actual toy rocket launch!

And if programming a rocket launch wasn’t cool enough, the students also used Python to hack Minecraft during Dave’s engrossing presentation. Given the incredible popularity of Minecraft, this lesson was—not surprisingly—a huge hit with the campers!

Following the Minecraft presentation, the countdown was on, and students were able to finally to “Blast Off!” After traveling to a nearby park, the campers used their Raspberry Pi devices to send a rocket into orbit! It was an exciting ending to an action-packed two days.

We’d like to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to the Bravo LT staff who came together to promote and volunteer at the event, Minda Joi for donating her time and photography services, Davenport University for allowing us to use their facilities, and the parents and children who helped make this year’s camp a resounding success!