MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some Twin Cities ninth graders are headed to Silicon Valley in California for an intensive technology camp.
They were selected by a husband-and-wife team that work for Google. Steve Grove grew up in Northfield but now lives in the San Francisco area.READ MORE: A Look At Some Of The Deadliest US School Shootings, Including At Red Lake H.S. In Minn.
Grove and his wife, Mary, started taking Minnesota students to California last year to show them where they could end up working one day.
It started as a few visits home to talk to students about careers in technology.
But now the Groves are the co-founders of a non-profit called Silicon North Stars.
“It’s just a really fulfilling experience to get to see these kids change and develop throughout the week, and begin to realize that you can dream big and actually achieve what you dream if you just work hard and believe in yourself,” Steve said.
The group will also visit Facebook, YouTube and Linkedin during their trip.
“They start out by visiting a bunch of tech companies and startups, then in the middle of the week we pair them up with somebody who works in technology to set some goals and look ahead to their future, to think, you know, ‘What steps do I need to take to get a career in technology?'” Steve said.
Before they go, the kids attend an orientation session at the Uptown CoCo.
“This orientation today is super important for setting that foundation of getting to know each other, setting expectations and really contributing to what they want the experience to be like, something that we build together,” Mary said.READ MORE: Holiday Weekend Travel Expected To Be Highest Since 2019
Tenth grader Jenna Vang took part in the camp last year.
“I really got out there, you know, I really got out of my comfort zone, and I got to meet brand-new people, and you know, it really just changed me from the inside,” Yang said.
The new group is pumped and grateful.
“I am super, super excited,” ninth grader Mickey Edwards said. “I was literally screaming when I found out that I could go.”
The students will also tour the campus of Stanford University while in California.
“They’re a great couple, allowing kids to just go to California just to see how it’s like, that’s amazing,” ninth grader Akia Yang said.
The non-profit Silicon North Stars pays all the expenses for the camp. There is no cost to the kids’ families.
They select students who demonstrate potential but may not have the financial means to explore camps of this kind.
The Groves say they want to develop year-round programming, and have the students meet once every three months in the Twin Cities to hear from local entrepreneurs and tech people.MORE NEWS: Ettinger Wins Dem Nod For Hagedorn's 1st District Seat; Finstad Leads GOP
They would like to create relationships between the kids who have been to the camps and the ones about to go — forming a community for them.