At first glance, the same thing happens at a Jugend hackt hackathon that happens at many hackathons: people come together for a weekend, think up technical solutions to specific problems and then develop prototypes for them. If you take a closer look, however, you quickly realize that the focus of 'Jugend hackt' is not project results: they're just a means to an end, so that young people can get to know each other, take their first and second steps in the field of coding and, above all, have a sense of personal achievement.
This experience of self-efficacy is central to the Jugend hackt organizational teams: young people experience how projects can grow out of their own ideas. They can learn from and with each other, in an environment that works very differently than the classroom. They notice that their skills and knowledge are taken seriously.
The fact that this involvement lasts much longer than any app also becomes clear when young people take on other roles at 'Jugend hackt'. For years now, many young adults who, at 19 years old, are too old to continue as participants have remained loyal to the program and have signed up as volunteer mentors.
A survey of the 'Jugend hackt' community at the end of 2020 found that more than 30 young people want to remain involved as adults and would like to offer their support by being mentors to younger participants in the future. For this purpose, the 'Jugend hackt' team will offer training in teaching skills and moderation methods.
Neue New online formats as a chance to try out new things
The Coronavirus pandemic has spurred on the emergence of new online formats at 'Jugend hackt', where some active young people have also taken on new roles. In the Community Talks, the monthly series of livestreams on topics related to the program, they work together on planning with the full-time 'Jugend hackt' team. Participants use the opportunity to try out new things and to take over the moderation on their own initiative – or even to take care of the entire planning, as in the case of the talk on the topic of diversity.
The workshops offered by 'Jugend hackt' also benefit from this high level of broadcasting awareness. These formats have also been running completely online for many months, and young people regularly appear as speakers. Whether it's about "data protection on the Internet," their own websites or the Linux open operating system – it's a way for young people to pass on their knowledge to other young people.
Jugend hackt: "Life-changing in a subtle way."
One participant described her spontaneous participation in 'Jugend hackt' a few years afterward as "life-changing in a subtle way," which of course fills the team with pride. Such are the rewards of a good educational program – whether you walk out of there with new programming skills, a new circle of friends, experience in moderating and mentoring, or all of the above.
The next hackathons in 2021 are scheduled
At the remote events, young people spend a weekend building apps, visualizations and hardware projects on socially important issues. Young people develop their own project idea in a small team, implement it and present the result at the end. They are supported by professional mentors and receive a lot of electronics. An overview of the dates, including a link to information and registration: