A Message From Our Founders
2020 was an extraordinary year for Connected Camps and the world, and a fitting one for offering our first ever annual report. Our team stepped up with a rapid response to the pandemic and childrens’ dire need for fun, safe, and social spaces for learning. We expanded the hours of our free Kid Club Minecraft server, continued esports coaching in over 100 schools, hired and trained 69 new college counselors, and expanded our online summer camp enrollments 1000%. We also doubled down on our commitments to equity and racial justice by hiring our most diverse cohort of counselors ever, the majority of whom identify with a group historically underrepresented in tech.
We are so proud of our administrative team and our counselors who stepped up to meet the moment and serve over 20,000 children who found themselves suddenly stuck at home. Our programs and servers became a lifeline to social and emotional support, learning, and play during the darkest months of the pandemic. In this Annual Report, we share the details and the numbers of this tremendous year of growth and learning for our organization.
– Mimi Ito and Katie Salen
A Year of Growth
We partnered with Seattle Public Library and the University of Washington’s Information School to design, pilot, and evaluate ways of supporting adolescent well-being within esports play. A specialized cohort of Connected Camps’ coaches were trained in a select group of evidence-based rituals and activities designed to help students focus, visualize, relieve stress, and express their emotions in a supportive setting.
Great experience! The coach was very encouraging and supportive and gave kids a lot of suggestions that would work in Fortnite and in life as well, like goal setting and strategy.
Among Us made its debut, joining other popular programs in Minecraft, Roblox and more! With social distancing in mind, we also offered virtual parties and custom pandemic pod programs.
Minecraft may have been the medium, but coding and creativity were what was taught. My son was consistently excited and enthusiastic about what he learned in class. In fact, the hour after every class was usually spent with him explaining to me what he did in great detail.
Within newly extended hours of our free Kid Club and Connected Craft Minecraft servers for kids aged 8-13, we began offering new themes and challenges, like October “Halloweekends” with Pumpkin Carving, a Monster Mash Halloween Tournament, and a Haunted House Building Competition.
I have taken many camps and classes through Connected Camps, and it is always a fun and interactive experience. I also really enjoy their Kids Club Server because it’s safe, fun, and the Mods are helpful and friendly.
—Cassidy, Age 8
21 yrs old
20 yrs old
Lead Counselor, II
22 yrs old
Operations Team Highlights
Jake Lui (he/him)
Program Media Assistant
Connected Camps has always been a special organization, achieving a very important mission in unique and clever ways. It’s provided me invaluable experience with leadership, designing curricula, teaching kids and learning from them.
Alexis Albertie (she/her)
I had just finished my fifth year teaching high school math when I saw the opportunity to be a counselor manager with CC. I loved that it was not a traditional education model, but provided the space to explore learner interests while pushing young educators to become leaders in and out of the classroom.
Matthew Kreutter (he/him)
I love seeing positive reviews that come in from campers or families that had a truly amazing experience – and, of course, being able to share those reviews with the counselors who ran the program! The biggest goal I have for my work is for it to benefit the “young people” we serve – campers, volunteers, and counselors – in whatever stage of life they are.
Diego De La Peza (he/him)
Our goal is to redefine the traditional, part-time, college job and I believe that we are well on our way already. We are demonstrating that paying young adults fair wages, allowing flexible scheduling, providing meaningful work opportunities, and treating team members with respect and compassion are all possible.