Here at Molecule Software, we try to be as involved in the local tech/startup community as much as possible and I've personally been looking for ways to get more involved (instead of just eating the free food). I'm particularly interested in getting kids involved in programming at a young age and learning the best ways to help them learn.
I joined up with a few other people and we ended up choosing Rails Girls Houston as our first event. We were initially worried that we wouldn't get enough applications, but within the first few weeks we had already received more than forty applications, more than enough to meet our intial quota. We wanted to maintain our 4:1 student to coach ratio, but the applications kept pouring in, so we recruited more awesome local devs to help coach and bumped up the final quota to sixty. By the time of the actual event, we had over a hundred applicants. We were truly overwhelmed by the response - we had no idea there were so many Houstonians who would be interested in learning with us.
Now of course I'm going to say the event went well, but I'm going to have to give all the credit to my co-organizers and to our sponsors who made it all possible. The whole process kicked off at the beginning of June and we held the event the last weekend of July, a testament to how quickly our sponsors were able to help us mobilize and how flexible (and did I mention, awesome?) our coaches are. If I were to measure success on how well the students absorbed the material, we just flew (in a good way!) through the material. If anything, I learned a lot about the Houstonian way to put on a big event like this and how to be a (slightly) better teacher.
But we're not done, not by a long shot! We went into Rails Girls knowing that we wanted to start a larger movement here in Houston (and when I say we, I mean myself and two other local female developers). In our early talks we wanted to start a chapter of Girl Develop It and hopefully one day put on something like Girls Who Code. We still want to do those things and much, much more. There are honestly so many things we want to do that we've created an umbrella organization called Code Park to help us manage all of these unique events. We hope to serve any and all needs an aspiring or experienced Houston techie might need. Sign up and stay tuned.