New Braunfels resident and former Google employee Jeff Hunt is the founder of NB Makerspace — and affectionately known as “Mr. PC” by the children who took his summer camps.
NB Makerspace, a place for learning how to combine software and tools in a fun way, officially opened to the community of New Braunfels one year ago at 776 E. Torrey St.
For those who might not know, a Maker Space gives the public access to tools like 3-D printers, X Carve CNC, MDraw and other neat gadgets that people wouldn’t normally buy for themselves.
“We host fun, educational programs for kids, clubs for adults and young entrepreneurs, summer camps, parents’ night out, coding workshops and other STEAM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Art-Math) related activities and more,” according to the NB Makerspace website.
This summer for the first time, Hunt — along with co-founder Leighton Moore and Rackspace CEO Graham Weston — hosted weekly, half-day camps from 1:30-5:30 p.m. until the second week of August.
Each week was packed with fun STEAM learning projects like 3-D printing, electronics, coding, games, art and more. All in all, there were about 150 kids who signed up for the various camps.
“What we wanted to do was take the kids who were interested in technology to another level,” Hunt said. “One of the first things we do is take an idea and make it into a reality. We teach them how to design things with software and bring out the engineer in people.”
The classes are interactive, social and challenging — and Hunt believes many of the kids will benefit from participating in the future.
“This is career material for these kids,” Hunt said. “They’re learning software design, how to collaborate, troubleshoot and basic level programming. By the end of the week, these kids will have code thousands of lines. It’s really amazing to me what a 6- or 7-year-old can do.”
Although the summer camps have already ended, Hunt said there are still opportunities for everyone to get involved with NB Makerspace in the fall.
“We really want to encourage girls to come too,” he said. “This isn’t just a boy thing — this is for young engineers of all ages. Basically, we do whatever we think of that interests us. This is a fun, wild and loose class. It’s the kind of learning that you do socially together. We’ve had a lot of success here, and what makes it so good is that it involves all types of skill sets.”
In the fall, there will be various classes offered for children, adults and families. In addition to an after-school program that meets five days a week, there will be Maker Scouts and Homeschool Scouts that meet once a week, a robotics club and adults classes.
“Whatever we can do to get people in here, that’s what we want to do,” Hunt said. “A lot of these people have the capability to be manufactures or engineers, they just need help learning how to do it. This has been a great, incredible summer — and I can’t believe the energy and intelligence of these kids. New Braunfels has really been great too, and I’m hoping to make this a full-time thing.”