During June 12-15, 2016, Google Code-in Grand Prize Winners from Drupal and other organizations attended a trip to California, USA. This trip is the crowning activity to acknowledge the hard work of the top contestants in the Google Code-in, which is a program organized by Google to introduce young minds—pre-university students of 13 to 17 years old—to the world of Open Source. I was fortunate enough to take part of this experience both as a Grand Prize Winner last year and as a mentor this year.
Day 1: Reception
This year trip kicked off on the evening of the 12th June with a Meet & Greet Reception at the hotel lobby where I had the pleasure to meet Drupal's Grand Prize Winners: Suryansh Pratap Singh and Sudhanshu Gautam. After an hour of eating and chatting, students were challenged to interview the attendants in a competition to find people who match certain requirements (who was wearing neither black nor white socks, who spoke at least three languages, etc.) and add their names to a list. At the end of this activity, students and mentors received backpacks full of goodies from Google.
Day 2: Google Mountain View campus
After a long night sleep to recover from my long trip, I met everyone at the lobby of the hotel. That day, we ventured into a trip to the Google Headquarters in Mountain View where we spent all day. We had the opportunity to learn about some projects directly from Google engineers.
For lunch, we went to one of the cafe around the Googleplex where students met a Googler from their home country. Thanks to this, students—and everybody—were able to know more about the culture, programs, and projects inside Google. In fact, the knowledge we acquired was as abundant as the food in the cafe.
To conclude the great experience, Stephanie Taylor and Chris DiBona, who are part of the Open Source Programs Office, led a ceremony to give awards to the each student and encourage them to continue collaborating to Open Source projects.
Day 3: San Francisco Fun Day
For day 3, attendants chose to either do a segway tour or go to the Exploratorium; this year, I opted for the last. The Exploratorium—as it is stated in its website, which is built on Drupal—isn't just a museum; it's an ongoing exploration of science, art and human perception—a vast collection of online experiences that feed your curiosity. It really was a fun activity.
After this, everyone rejoined to have lunch together to later set off to the Golden Gate Bridge to spend the afternoon. A Yacht Dinner Cruise was the best option to complete a day filled with lots of fun, great experiences, and unforgettable memories.
Day 4: Google San Francisco Office and Goodbyes
To conclude this amazing trip, we walked to Google San Francisco Office where we had Googler talks about a variety of topics. Furthermore, mentors had the opportunity to introduce their organizations and highlight the outstanding job done by their Grand Prize Winners.
We later had a spare time to spend with the other attendants—and have cake!. We walked back to the hotel to say goodbye. Even though it was a short time, I grew fond of many people during the trip that it was hard to accept that I had to say farewell.
I can hardly find the right words to thank the Google Open Source Programs Office team for the incredible trip and for letting Drupal mentor amazing young students. As an organization, Drupal has had the opportunity to mentor in GCI for many years, and we would definitely like to keep the momentum; thus, we can keep adding new contributors to our great community.
If you like to experience this by yourself, participating in GCI is the (obvious) answer. From Drupal, we are committed to help you out getting involved in the community and in Open Source. Thus, we have, for instance, created a guideline to make GCI students’ path to Open Source and Drupal smother. In fact, Our students generally started off as new Drupal users and ended up as core contributors, yet what made our Grand Prize Winners outstanding was the high quality of their contributions.
If you want to help these young minds get started—that is to become a mentor—we would be happy to hear about you, so feel free to join us at our IRC channel #drupal-google and contact Slurpee or me. You can also join Google Code-In group for further updates.
Hope to see you around the community!