CoderDojo Community Committee #3

Below are the minutes from the third Community Committee meeting which happened on the 3rd of July from 21:00 – 22:00 IST.

Attendees:

  • Giustina Mizzoni – CDF
  • Eugene McDonagh – CDF, Killaloe and Limerick Dojos
  • Ben Chapman – CDF, Dublin and DCU Dojos
  • Bill Liao – NSC Dojo, CoderDojo Founder
  • Greg Bulmash – Seattle CoderDojo
  • Radu Ticiu -Timisoara, Romania
  • Ann Donnelly – Clonakilty Dojo,
  • Craig Steele – Glasgow Coderdojo, CoderDojo Scotland
  • Rob Curran – Wimslow, Barcleys, Hayes Recruitment CoderDojos
  • Carmelo Presicce – Bologna CoderDojo, CoderDojo Italia
  • David Welch – Iowa City Dojo
  • Shara Karasic – LA Dojo
  • Francis Reed – Dun Laoghaire Dojo
  • Cristian Vermeulen (Representing Netherlands) Leiden Dojo

 

Agenda:  

Time Topic Who
21:00 Attendance Register CoderDojo Foundation
21:05 Present Regional Guidelines Ben / CoderDojo Foundation
21:15 Discussion and Vote on Guidelines Committee
21:35 Discussion on Methods of encouraging Dojos to communicate David Welch to kick off
21:50 Decisions on Actions, What can the Foundation logistically do to facilitate communication? Community & CoderDojo Foundation
21:55 A.O.B

 

 

  • Present & discussion of Regional Guidelines Please refer to the document DojoGroupsGuidance (2) (marked as draft until case studies are published

Q, Francis: Interested to understand where the Foundation sees itself in terms of it roles and responsibilities in relation to the groups. Some of the structures presented seem to suggest a separation between the regional groups and the Foundation. Is there an inherent gap between them or an intention for the Foundation to take a more hands on role?

Foundation: In terms of the Dojos getting involved in the Foundation there are a number of projects in progress at the moment headed by Giustina (RP, Dojo’s having a membership in the Foundation etc.) that address this. At the last Community Committee we discussed membership of the Foundation and 2 months ago our board decided that Dojos who meet certain criteria (RP) could become members of the Foundation. Dojos would then have certain rights in the Foundation, it would be a membership organisation, there will be AGM every year and there will be a vote on major decisions (whether in person, remotely or by proxy). The status of this project is that we are currently working with our lawyers, who are reviewing changing the structure of the organisation to align with this

This guidance was very much intended for people who wanted to set up these organisations anyway as it is unlikely that the Foundation is ever going to play a central role in organising regional groups of Dojos.

Q, Rob: Does the Foundation want to move to be predominantly a membership organisation rather that setting up some sort of hierarchy of charitable body statuses of it’s own?

Foundation: Absolutely the Foundation doesn’t have intentions of setting up various charities in different regions unless there is a specific reason i.e trying to help child protection in a certain region etc. We want the membership organisation to be inclusive for any Dojo who wishes to join and that is what we are working through at the minute.

Q, Ann: the Champions are members, not the Dojos?

Foundation: That’s what we’re currently trying to work out. What it would be is that the Champion would represent that Dojo and therefore vote on behalf of that Dojo. This is what we are currently trying to work out.

Q, Shara: Does the Foundation have an opinion  about regional groups becoming Non-Profits or getting fiscally sponsored?

Foundation: We fully support individual regional groups getting sponsorship to support their regions. For example CoderDojo Belgium are supported by Telenet, a Belgian internet provider company, and Telenet pay for insurance, they’ve provided laptops. etc.

In the CoderDojo Charter it states “You are entitled to fundraise on the condition that it is made explicit you do so for your Dojo or as a group of Dojos under a group name (EG Dojos of California) and inappropriate fundraising is a breach of this Charter.” *When asking for support for your Dojo you must in all correspondence specify that you are fundraising for your individual Dojo or group of Dojos, not for the global CoderDojo network of Dojos. *

Q, Francis Reed :  When you do that though surely you then become one of these types of organisations referenced in the Dojo Groups document?

If you try and fundraise as a standard group of people as a Dojo someone has to become responsible for the funds and then it becomes very much a personal responsibility. The correct thing I believe to is a voluntary organisation with a constitution and then you can start to fundraise. We moving away from the initial idea of it being free and the parents paying, which is what you start with to the desire to do a little bit more and that that desires a structure. I suppose that’s where we are with our thought process, right?

Foundation: Yes absolutely true. This is really more to reflect the fact that a lot of Dojos are at different stages. What we would advocate is, as it much easier and more streamlined,  for a Dojo to get everything they need paid for in kind from companies as opposed to ever actually handling cash. That can avoid a whole lot of difficulties for Dojos such as having to get charity status in order to receive funds. (eg. In the US if you have 501(c)(3) Status then you are more open to receiving financial support from companies).

It’s really down to the individual club and what they feel is necessary and what suits them best.

Q, David: How does CoderDojo propose to ensure things such as child safety if there is no regional presence or oversight?

Foundation: This is an ongoing issue that we have been working through and that’s really where the Recommended Practice came from. RP is not a legal agreement it is merely a set of guiding principles that we recommended Dojos meet and of course safeguarding children is the first principle there but in terms of policing Dojos it would be impossible due to the fact that CoderDojo is so global. There are now over 450 Dojos in 47 countries all with incredibly complex legal structures and policies surrounding child protection. Ensuring that Dojos meet child protection and actually enforcing that is just not something we’re able to do. Once the RP consultation period closes we will be reviewing all the feedback we’ve gotten so far and change that based on the feedback. Presently we do not intend to start doing any sort of policing on child protection on Dojos just because we can’t.

Q. Greg: CoderDojo Seattle fundraises from membership and outside, no parent is asked to pay, but they regularly appeal for donations.

Foundation: This is completely fine and well within the Charter and plenty of Dojos do this.

Bill: Note that CoderDojo NSC has never raised any money over the three years, they have only ever taken donations in kind so it is possible to do it sustainably.

Foundation: NSC is a great example of this, the position of the Foundation is that each Dojo is entitled to choose what they think is best for their group. The aim of the case studies is to shed light on how Dojo groups have come about.

Q, Cristian: We are currently in the process of setting up a regional body for the Netherlands, before I was running my own Dojo in Rotterdam. This is a very important conversation for us right now and as well for our local Dojos we are looking at how we can handle donations and stuff but if you’re going to work with corporate you will need some kind of local body in order to accept donations. We are currently looking at whether we are going to set up a regional body and deal with all our Dojos through that or set up our Dojos first which in the Netherlands works best and helps more in a bottom up structure. My question is, what would you think is best for us in the Netherlands considering our Dojos are very individual and run from a bottom up structure?

Foundation: Based on some of the feedback we got from the case studies it works either way.  Some of the groups have formed where there have been Dojos in a country that have come together and others have formed where one group has either gotten funding or has started and tried to start up Dojos. I think if there are already existing Dojos your best option is to contact them and start trying to get that together.

Christian:  We are already all in contact, Lieben, Rotterdam and Amsterdam and we are already really in close contact. Between the three of us we are looking at how to set up this regional body and what would work.

Foundation: In terms of the guidance you’re already an informal group if you’re talking regularly. Until you feel you need to move on to a different type of group. We’ve introduced Chris to partners in the Netherlands who should be able to support the setting up of more formal body.

Q, David: Can the Foundation provide non profit entities within each country that Dojos could send sponsors the money earmarked for them?

Foundation: That is something that we have certainly spoken about. There are different legal implications in each jurisdiction. In the future that is something we would like to be able to offer Dojos.

Greg: National entities would have to be registered in each state in the US.

Foundation: That’s true, I do know that with 501(c)(3) Status most charities in the US so just register in one state but if they were to take money off a Dojo in another state they would have to get registered in that state also. So it can really get comlex quite quickly and that’s really not what we’re going for, we’re trying to make it as easy as possible for Dojos to set up and run sustainably  without smothering the Foundation.

Rob: To ensure that this is a two way street I would like to request that RP also reflects a reciprocal commitment from the Foundation that where a regional or local member or organisation is established then the Foundation must channel it’s efforts through and work alongside that member organisation rather than operate unilaterally and refer opportunities to the member organisation.

Foundation: This is absolutely a fair point and we can discuss this internally and then add some principle into the Recommended Practice to say that but wherever we can we do try to work with these organisations. It makes communicating more streamline if we deal with a body that is feeding the information down to a number of Dojos.  We’re happy to do both, it just depends on how each different area operates.

Ann: Found in her area that other Dojos in the region had not been responsive about forming a group either down to time or worry.

Foundation: That’s another thing, in some cases people just don’t want to create a group which is absolutely fine as well, it’s down to the individual. In the document we do say if they are not responding or not interested do not push people. Obviously for a variety of reasons, be it time or otherwise, people might not want to get involved.

David: RP would have some real teeth if the Foundation could provide some kind of non-profit entity.

Foundation: Thanks for recommending that Dave , we’ll absolutely continue this conversation internally to just see what is feasible for the Foundation.

Rob: It could readily completely independentif they wish to be but if they want to represent the interests of the global movement then cooperative working with or through the Foundation and a member organisation would be essential.

Foundation: Also to clarify that RP and membership are separate projects.Based on the feedback we’ve been getting on RP there may have been a potential messaging issue from the Foundation’s . RP is a stand alone project and different to anything else the Foundation is doing, its separate to membership, separate to Dojo Groups. Just because you meet RP, or aim to meet RP, you do not have to become a member of the Foundation but that option will be there for you. Just to clarify.

David: So can you be a member of the Foundation without following RP?

Foundation: No. A prerequisites of becoming a member is that you meet RP and the whole purpose of that is to ensure that members of the Foundation have taken the necessary steps to publicly say they are meeting the principles and creating a safe space for young people. But you can meet RP without becoming a member. Members will be the people who have an actual say in the future of the Foundation.

Rob:  So we sign up to the Charter, we then demonstrate compliance to RP (which is optional) and once that is done they can decide if they want to become a member.

Foundation: Yes that is exactly right.

Discussion on Methods of encouraging Dojos to communicate

David: My idea is how we could divide the US Dojo community work among the committee representatives across the US.

So what I’ve been doing so far is reaching out to Dojos in the area and letting them know I’m the regional committee member and if they need help with anything or would like me to get something passed up the chain just or find a solution to let me know. Dojos are going inactive some new ones are coming up, some aren’t registering on CoderDojo.com. Maybe there could be a way that when you sign up to be a Champion the nearest CoderDojo committee member can be alerted. Nothing too extravagant just something a little more streamlined so I/we don’t have to go searching.

Foundation: From an internal perspective that is absolutely something the Foundation can do, it’s another step to be incorporated to our verification process and we can let people know and if people are happy to we can.

Bill: It would have to be double opt in. (Eg. Both parties would need to opt in)

*Foundation Action:

  • Contact Committee members and see who wants to be notified.
  • When Dojos in that region are setting up offer to connect them with their committee members.

Committee Members: There was discussion around the issue of international groups that may be close to a Committee member but in a different country.

Foundation: We will contact people one on one and continue the conversation on which areas the would like to be covered.

David: How will it work for Dojos who start up in a region that has no CoderDojo community committee representative?

Foundation: We will be doing reviewing the Community Committee as there are a number of committee members who have never joined any of the calls and because Coderdojo is growing so fast that even though the committee may be representative of the community today in 3 months it might not be. So we’re going to constantly keep reviewing it and if someone joins the Community in an area that isn’t represented we are going to invite them on to the committee.

Bill: It should be so easy to start a Dojo that Champions shouldn’t need any support.

Foundation: That is what we are working towards.

Rob: What happens next? (RP, Memberships, group membership etc.)

Foundation: Next steps:

RP: Open consultation close in 8 days, please give your feedback. After that we will be compiling the feedback and taking it into account while creating support documents for RP and planning the RP pilot. We’ll be putting out a call for Dojos who wish to be a part of the pilot.

Membership: We are working with our lawyers and currently don’t have a next step. As soon as we have something more concrete we will let you know.

Regional Groups: As soon as we have the case studies done we will share them with you and publish them on Kata so they can be available as a resource in the future.

Thank you for taking the time to take the call and for all your great input. As always if you have any questions at all please contact us at [email protected]. The next Community Committee meeting will be in September and we will get in touch in August with the details of this.


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