We here at ZenFri have always had a soft spot for educating kid and teens about working in the creative industry. Our goal is not to push them into becoming future employees but to help them discover their own creative spark and determine what they want to do with their lives. From there we try to show them the ins and outs of those desires without holding back the gory details of what it may take to get there.

In our lives outside of ZenFri both founders, Corey and Danielle have taught a number of youth classes, with Danielle acting as both Programming Director and teaching a regular roster of classes at the Forum Art Centre when she’s not at ZenFri.

Danielle Teaching at Forum

However, we aren’t satisfied just focusing on what we can do outside of ZenFri. Over the last three years we’ve regularly brought in high school students from the Met School (Year 1 / Year 2), and participated in the annual Tiger’s Den Entrepreneurship Conference which focuses on driving high school students to develop innovative business ideas.

This year we’re excited to have last year’s Met School Student, Jake, returning  to learn more about gaming and coding for creative projects. Last year, Jake reached beyond a solid vertical slice on three of his own game ideas, one of which we may look at turning into release-worthy projects under Jake’s own label this year.

Jake the High School Coding Wizard

Given he’s just started grade 10, Jake is already an extremely competent coder, to which all credit should go to his own drive and dedication.

Early image from  Jake's first Game

Given his strong coding stills, we decided to kick things off this year by  jumping back a bit from last year’s projects and focusing in on design. So for his first few weeks at ZenFri, Jake is paper prototyping and refining board game concepts that will be rigorously play tested by ZenFri staff as we help guide him through the ins and outs of design. So far it’s been a lot of fun and we can comfortably say we are learning just as much as Jake is (or maybe more…don’t tell anyone).

We’re so pleased to be working with Jake and the Met School once again this year, and hope Jake’s time here is as valuable to him as it is to us.

Play testing!