Local teens brainstormed to make Campbell River more youth-friendly last week at the city’s first-ever Hackathon.
The event took place at Sportsplex on Thursday evening and throughout the day on Friday. In less than 10 hours, the students carried out research, built websites and prepared presentations.
“The caliber has been really quite remarkable,” said Rose Klukas, economic development officer for the City of Campbell River. “We’ve got some kids with super talent here.”
The city organized the event along with council’s Youth Action Committee. The goal was to develop a viable product to help make Campbell River a better place for young people, while also fostering high-tech talent.
“Technology is a sector that we want to develop in Campbell River because it is also a big employer, tech jobs pay a lot, and it’s an opportunity to diversify our local economy as well,” Klukas said. “It starts with the youth.”
Environmental concerns were a theme for the first prize winners, a team called Mr. Bagley’s Bagels.
That group proposed a bike-share program as an environmentally-friendly transportation solution for youth.
The team – Colby Ernst, Scott Henry, Franco Pellegrin and Riley Teramura – will share $1,000 in prize money and present their idea to Campbell River City Council in June.
The team’s plan included 3-D designs for bike racks that would accommodate an eventual electric bike program.
The second place prize of $600 went to a team that devised a plan for an app that would inform teens about events going on in Campbell River.
The team, dubbed Monty Python’s Brainy Binary Boiz – Nicholas Hopkins, Ethan Posner, Isaac Morrow and Loic Kliemann – said that most kids in their generation don’t use Facebook, apart from the Messenger app.
A third place prize of $400 went to Team Codex5 – Blake Cornish, Caleb Haugen, Kalvin Kristianson, Coyote Mulholland and Tory Randle – who tackled a shortage of meeting places for youth by pitching a business plan for a video arcade-style facility.
The room at Sportsplex was abuzz with activity on Friday, moments before the teams of youth delivered their pitches to a panel of judges.
One group was putting its finishing touches on their proposal for a campaign website aimed at reducing solid waste by banning single-use plastics.
“Pollution has gotten insane, and I feel that youth really need to take action,” said Michelle Sewell, as she worked with a team including Anna Bissonette, Alysha Irvine, Chris Sloan, and Rinoa Sumaray.
Their group, called Wasted Potential, won the award for best name, announced by North Island MLA and Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena.
A team called 4G – Amal Memon, Areesha Memon, Minahil Memon and Edea Sumaray – also tackled the problem of transitioning from middle school to high school.
They created a sample website that would share information about school curriculums, and outlined other measures that could help smooth the transition.
More details and photos from the event can be found at hackathon.campbellriver.ca/hackathon