Earlier this year, Palumbi came up with the idea for a youth-run hackathon. A student at the Digital Harbor Foundation, she pitched it to the maker education org’s Youth Steering Committee, who decided to get in on the organizing, as well. Digital Harbor Foundation staff will be there, but Executive Director Shawn Grimes said he is looking to step back and let the younger generation lead.
“We have a hands-off approach,” he said.
Now the event is set for Aug. 11-13 at the Digital Harbor Foundation’s tech center in Federal Hill. Harbor Hacks is open to youth who are ages 12-18. Palumbi and fellow organizers are making calls to organizations to drum up interest.
The event is designed to give kids a feel for what a hackathon is like in a place with hackers their own age. Palumbi wanted to have adult mentors help the youth as they build projects. Other than that, however, the organizing team is looking to make it like any other weekend event. Projects will be posted to DevPost, and the event will have its own Slack channel and there are T-shirts (with a logo designed by the steering committee). Plus, there will be prizes via funding from the Mayor’s Office of Information Technology.