Level Up Philly VR Squad at the G3 Teen Tech Summit

Our Experience at the Teen Tech Summit: Empowering Youth Through Technology

The Teen Tech Summit, organized by Grace3 Technologies, was a vibrant and transformative experience for Level Up Philly. Our participation in this event was more than just an opportunity to showcase our youth’s interest in virtual reality; it was a chance to forge new pathways in emerging technologies for the youth of Philadelphia.

Our journey began with an inspiring meeting between our Executive Director, Pastor Aaron Campbell, and Grace3 Technologies CEO and Founder, John Henry. They discussed innovative ways to onboard Philadelphia youth into the realms of virtual reality, robotics, and drones. The enthusiasm and commitment shared in that conversation set the tone for our participation in the summit.

Building Momentum

In the week leading up to the event, Pastor Aaron and John Henry collaborated on strategies to create buzz and excitement. This led to Pastor Aaron being invited to deliver an opening talk at the summit, setting the stage for an energetic and engaging event. To further captivate the audience, the Level Up Philly Dance Team performed a thrilling cypher-style dance showcase, adding a unique and dynamic element to the summit’s opening.

Preparing Our Youth

While the leadership planned, our dedicated staff and partners were hard at work selecting and preparing a group of ten youths, aged 12-16, to be our tech ambassadors. These young individuals were trained to assist their peers in exploring virtual reality, ensuring they were well-versed in various VR scenarios and games. The excitement and anticipation among our youth tech team were palpable, as they were eager to share their newfound knowledge with other attendees.

Setting Up and Engaging

On the day of the event, our team arrived early to set up our indoor space. With over ten virtual reality stations, most of which were manned by our enthusiastic youth, we were ready to immerse attendees in the fascinating world of VR. The energy in the room was electric as our youth tech team guided over 40 kids through immersive VR experiences. They also assisted in conducting post-experience surveys, collecting valuable data on VR familiarity that will help us align future educational and career opportunities for youth in Philadelphia.

Exploring New Horizons

After a busy morning of VR demonstrations, our youth tech team took a well-deserved break to explore the summit’s other offerings. They engaged with tech brought in by other partners, learning about robotics and getting hands-on experience with drones. The highlight for many was the opportunity to fly drones, and some even won drones to take home. Alongside these enriching experiences, they enjoyed good food, further enhancing the day’s enjoyment.

A Day of Full Engagement

Refreshed and recharged, our team returned to the VR stations to welcome another wave of excited kids. Many of the afternoon attendees were familiar faces, eager to try VR again. The constant flow of participants kept our stations busy, and by the end of the day, all our headsets, including those with extended battery packs, had run out of power due to the high level of engagement.

Evening Highlights: Inspiring Talk and Tangin’ Dance Showcase

As the evening approached, the excitement crescendoed with a highly anticipated segment of the summit. Pastor Aaron delivered an inspiring talk that captivated the audience, emphasizing the importance of emerging technologies and the role they play in shaping the future for Philadelphia’s youth. His words resonated deeply, leaving everyone motivated and eager to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Following this uplifting speech, the Level Up Philly Dance Team took the stage for a cypher-style dance performance. They showcased “Tangin’,” a unique dance style created by our participants. Tangin’ blends traditional dance moves with modern hip-hop, characterized by its rhythmic footwork, fluid body movements, and expressive storytelling. This dance style has become a cultural hallmark in Philadelphia, symbolizing creativity, resilience, and community spirit. The performance not only highlighted the talent and dedication of our youth but also celebrated the rich cultural tapestry of our city. The audience was left in awe, and the energy in the room was palpable, marking a perfect end to an incredible day of learning and engagement.

Reflecting on Success

As the day drew to a close, we reflected on the incredible experiences shared and the impact made. The excitement and satisfaction among the kids, both those who attended and our tech team, were evident. We headed home, buzzing with the day’s events and looking forward to discussing our experiences and plans for the future.

Gratitude and Future Prospects

We extend our heartfelt thanks to Grace3 Technologies and John Henry for the opportunity to be part of the Teen Tech Summit 2024. This event not only allowed us to showcase our youth’s interest and talent in virtual reality but also opened doors to new technological frontiers. The connections made, the experiences shared, and the knowledge gained will undoubtedly shape the future of our youth, guiding them towards exciting educational and career opportunities.

The Teen Tech Summit was a milestone for Level Up Philly, affirming our commitment to empowering youth through technology. We look forward to more collaborations and opportunities that will continue to inspire and equip the next generation with the skills and experiences they need to thrive in the digital age.

Level Up Philly