Summer camp for girl gamers is ready to play

An upcoming summer camp in St. Paul will focus on building interest among young girls in digital gaming, an industry that has traditionally been dominated by males.

The free camp, called Girls Game 2gether, is being put together by Ben Estes, a youth technology coordinator for the nonprofit agency Project for Pride in Living, along with two colleagues Brianna Belanger and Jessica Talley. It will take place in two separate week-long cycles (6/25 – 6/29 & 8/6 – 8/10) at the Eastside YMCA in St. Paul.

This inaugural event is aimed at girls in middle school and will focus on basic game design concepts. Participants will learn about the history and content of video games and will go through the process of creating simple Flash games.

“Playing games is universal,” says Estes. “It becomes quite a male-dominated thing in adolescence. There’s less space for girls to play games and when they do, the kind of games that are marketed at them are pretty poor.”

Girls Game 2gether hopes to shift the balance early on, giving these girls experience from which to build upon. For guidance, Estes is seeking female tech professionals in the Twin Cities that can serve on a panel, sharing their experiences and perspectives. Those panels will take place on Wednesday, June 27th and Wednesday, August 8th – both from 4:15 pm to 5:00 pm.

Estes says he’s calling for not only women from the gaming field but from various tech-related industries with applicable insight. He’d like to incorporate IT, design, programming and other niches.

“The idea is to have these panelists explain what got them into technology – where their hobbies developed when they were the girls’ age,” says Estes. “Help them formulate an idea of technology as a tool and where it can get them.”

Any female tech professionals interested in participating in the event can contact the event runners or find them on Facebook.