What is YCTP?
Youth Computer Training Program (YCTP) is a 6 months program targeted for all students, with additional focus on under-represented minorities and females, in the Southern Minnesota area entering 7th – 12th grade that has an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). YCTP is held weekly on Saturdays from December to May from 9:30am thru 12:30pm.
The purpose of YCTP is to provide youth with an increased awareness of information technology and web development. It provides an interactive learning environment for students to acquire computer literacy, develop basic computing skills, web development and the opportunity to practice presentation skills and team building concepts. The program goals and strategies are to inspire, ignite and empower all the students, to build an interest and/or career in technology (STEAM), to learn how to teach yourself new skills (aka learn to learn), to improve middle/high school experience, to be exposed to another career option and to set the expectations to prepare for education beyond high school. Over the years, we have allowed students as young as 4th grade to participate in the training, if space is available.
What Technologies and Soft Skills are Taught?
The curriculum is developed and taught by volunteers. The curriculum focuses on industry standard programming languages, problem solving techniques, and conceptual design. Technologies that will be taught include:
- Relational Database Management with MySQL
- Web Site Design and Development with HTML, CSS
- Network Concepts
- Overview of Unix based Web Development Environment
- Overview of Apache HTTP Web Server
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
- Soft skills (i.e. team work, communication/public speaking, time management, confidence, creative thinking, flexibility, networking, mentoring, etc)
The students are graded on each concept taught through assignments, quizzes and team projects. A student management web based application called BDPAStudents.com which was developed by one of the instructors, is used. BDPAStudents.com contains a forum for communications between students to students or between students to instructors, syllabus, lecture notes and grades. Students have access to all public information on the website. Grades and class ranking are considered to be private information. Students can not see other student’s private information. The sharing of BDPAStudents.com with other chapters is a way to give back by offering our curriculum and student management system. This saves a tremendous amount of time on projects and assignments. It creates transparency between the students, instructors and volunteers.
At the annual conference, teams are given a real world based scenario to design a web based solution and then present to a team of judges. Teams have up to 4 weeks to complete part 1, and then 8 hours during the conference to complete part 2. This gives students an opportunity to learn to work as a team, task management, role definitions, troubleshooting and presentation skills. Judges score based on user web experience, presentation, and coding ability. Teams also take a quiz based on basic common computer knowledge in areas such as hardware, software, number systems, graphical user interface, internet terminology, web design(HTML/ CSS) and BDPA general knowledge.
Each member of the top 3 teams is awarded The Dr. Jesse Bemley Scholarship, named after the founder of HSCC.
Years of Success?
Southern Minnesota chapter holds a very successful track record at the national high school competition. The success goes to the dedication, passion and commitment from our students, parents and volunteers.
BDPA Southern Minnesota Chapter continues to maintain successful outcomes at the National Level. For the past 12 years, the team’s accomplishments looks like this:
- 2021 – 2nd Place
- 2020 – 2nd Place
- 2019 – 2nd Place
- 2018 – 2nd Place
- 2017 – 1st Place
- 2016 – 5th Place
- 2015 – 4th Place
- 2014 – 3rd Place
- 2013 – 1st Place
- 2012 – 3rd Place
- 2011 – 1st Place
- 2010 – 1st Place
- 2009 – 1st Place
- 2008 – 1st Place
- 2007 – 1st Place
- 2006 – 2nd Place
- 2005 – 1st Place
- 2004 – 2nd Place
- 2003 – 2nd Place
- 2002 – 10th Place
In addition to high school computer competition success, our chapter has won Chapter of the Year, placed 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the National Conference T-shirt Design Competition and many students have received scholarships from various technology companies. Zack Garbow, one of our previous technical coordinator/instructors, received the 2013 Most Promising Technologist Epsilon Award.