How to Participate

Young Makers are youth, typically aged 12-17, who choose to work alone or in small groups to prepare a project to exhibit at Maker Faire. A complete list of projects developed as part of the 2011 program can be found on the 2011 Projects page.

Organizing

Each project team is assigned one or more adult mentors who are experienced in one or more forms of making. Project teams are organized into Young Maker clubs, each of which having access to shop facilities. Each club also has a club manager who is responsible for recruiting 6-10 Young Makers, mentors, and shop hosts to support the club. More information about each of these roles can be found below and on our FAQs page. 

For the San Francisco Bay Area: 
Project teams work with their mentors and shop hosts as needed to make progress toward project completion in time for Bay Area Maker Faire in May 2011. All clubs and project teams meet monthly at the Exploratorium on the third Saturday of each month starting in January 2011. At these monthly meetings, Young Makers present their work in progress to other project teams, they have the opportunity to interact with a different "Featured Maker" each month, and they can participate in Open Make, a hands-on activity facilitated by Exploratorium staff.

For other areas:
 We encourage the creation of Maker clubs in all parts of the country (and the world for that matter). We envision each of these clubs consisting of 6-10 Young Makers with access to shop facilities sponsored by a shop host. Where possible we feel it is helpful to have monthly meetings at public places such as libraries and science museums to build a sense of community, and to do presentations of work in progress. Having an event to work toward is also helpful to encourage project completion. If there isn't a Maker Faire in your area, please consider organizing a mini Maker Faire.

Participation

If you think you'd like to participate, or if you just want to find out more about the program, click on Sign up and we'll send you more information and updates via email. Before signing up, be sure to read the rest of this section to find out about the various ways that you can take part.

You can participate in the Young Makers Program in several ways:

Informally: A component of the Young Maker Program are monthly meetings held at the Exploratorium. The meetings consist of Open Make, a hands on area in the Learning Studio portion of the museum, and interviews of "Featured Makers" by Dale Dougherty, founder of Make magazine and Maker Faire. Everyone is welcome to attend these meetings, held on the third Saturday of the month from January through April. These events are a great introduction to the culture of making.

As a Young Maker: Young Makers are youth, typically ages 12-17, who are passionate about hands-on activities. Young Makers must be willing to:
  • Work on a project for exhibition at Maker Faire in May 2011.
  • Meet regularly with a mentor for design and build time. The amount of time needed varies considerably depending on the project vision.
  • Give other Young Makers working on other projects feedback and help make their projects the best they can be, in a positive, creative, dynamic spirit.
  • Attend four monthly meetings held at the Exploratorium the third Saturday of each month starting in January 2011.
As a club manager: A club manager is an adult responsible for the creation and management of a Young Maker club. Responsibilities of the club manager include:.
  • Recruiting Young Makers, adult mentors, and shop hosts.
  • Assigning mentors to project teams.
  • Scheduling group build sessions. The number and duration of group build sessions varies considerably depending on the size and scope of the projects hosted by the club. Build sessions typically occur on Saturdays between February and May, with increasing frequency in the run up to the Faire.
  • Arranging for transportation to the four monthly meetings at the Exploratorium.
For more information, visit Starting a club.

As a mentor: Mentors are adults who are interested in working with youth and who are experienced in one or more forms of making. Mentors must be willing to:
  • Work with one or more Young Makers project groups to develop projects for exhibition at Maker Faire.
  • Give any Young Makers working on any project feedback and help make their projects the best they can be, in a positive, creative, dynamic spirit.
  • Exploit the “teachable moments” that naturally occur during making to expose underlying math, science, and engineering concepts in an inspiring and engaging manner.
  • Attend the four monthly meetings at the Exploratorium.
For more information, visit Mentoring tips.

As a shop host: Shop hosts are adults with access to fabrication facilities who are willing and able to make their shops available to members of a Young Maker club. Shop hosts must be willing to:
  • Provide access to their workshops on a regular basis; typically three to four hours on selected Saturdays between January and May, with the frequency of access increasing in the run up to Maker Faire in May.
  • Work with project groups to help them achieve their project visions.
  • Help project teams to acquire skills with tools, tool safety, and other aspects of hands-on fabrication.
As a parent volunteer: Parents of Young Makers are encouraged to participate, either in one of the roles above, or as a general volunteer willing to support the club in whatever ways are necessary.
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