• Renee

The Origin Story...

How did this all begin?  Nerd Orchard, really?  Who came up with that name anyway? Well, let me tell you a little story...

Once upon a time...just kidding.

A quick introduction is due.  I'm Renee, the founder of Nerd Orchard.  In a subsequent post, you'll get to read about me as I'm officially introduced. But for now, Renee-Founder, is all you need to know.  I want to give you a little insight into how Nerd Orchard came about.

Let me start out by saying that I don't consider myself a "nerd," but I'm working on it. You see, I've got this husband named Josh, and he is a nerd.  And I've got three children, who proudly consider themselves "nerds" too.  So I'm clearly behind and need to catch up.  I figured this out about two years ago when I decided to learn how to code.  I really had no idea what that meant, and I was completely certain I'd hate it.  But guess what - I didn't.  Much to my dismay, I actually enjoyed it.  It was challenging and creative, what?! Seriously, it boggled my mind too!  I did some online tutorials while the kiddos were in school (didn't I mention I've been a stay at home mom for a little over a decade?) and even made my own website from scratch.  That's big for someone like me: a non-nerd, non-coder, extrovert, and dare I say it - mom.  Seems like I was more than capable of doing things other than changing diapers, doing laundry, and conquering a grocery store on senior day.  It was eye opening and refreshing to realize that I still "had it."  

But I got to thinking...  Why did I have such a poor opinion of technology based activities?  Why didn't I pursue computer science or a tech based career?  I've got degrees in both Biology & Elementary Education, but I really think I may have chosen differently if tech options were even remotely attractive when I was going to school.  I was honestly of the opinion that those "computer nerds" were people that never wanted to speak to others and just wanted to sit in a dark room and crunch numbers all day. Yuck!  Oh, and I married one, so there's that.

Turns out, stereotypes are just that, stereotypes.  Long story short, I learned that tech is creative, challenging, exciting, and actually fun!  

So, I decided to start teaching tech classes at my kids' school for two hours on Fridays. Every 5-6 weeks I would teach classes on a new topic.  I've taught classes like "Coding with Scratch," "Making Infographics with Piktochart," and "Stop Motion Animation."  And guess what!  The kids love them!  And I think the parents loved them just as much as the kids.  And even cooler is the fact that I didn't know how to do anything in those classes until I had to learn it to teach it.  I like to call that "learning through teaching." Something we overlook that teachers do all the time.

I started to investigate tech classes my kids could attend outside of school.  And while I found online tutorials for all of them and some tech classes they could attend in person, they were generally limited by age, gender, or materials (laptops necessary to participate).  I had multiple parents asking me where their kids could learn more, or where they could take classes.  And while I gave some suggestions, I never had a definitive answer.

Enter Nerd Orchard.

The hubby mentioned "Nerd Orchard" a couple years ago.  He likes naming things, and the credit to this name goes all to him.  He loves the idea of an orchard of nerds, growing nerds, nerds rule the world, etc.  Anyways, we talked about its possibilities, what it could or should be.  We would bring it up, then forget about it, then bring it up again, repeat.  Each time I would come home and tell him about my tech classes at the kids' school and the parents' comments, etc. He would simply say, "Nerd Orchard," and leave it at that.  He's a man of few words.  Ask any friend or family member.  He's the kind of husband that when I complain about him not saying, "I love you," he explains to me that he tells me, "with his eyes."  Jeesh - you get the picture.  Well, the more he would respond, "Nerd Orchard," the more I would think...just maybe.

It just so happens that a few months ago I started reading the book You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero, and after a few chapters of inspirational reading, I decided.

Nerd Orchard was going to happen and I was going to make it so.


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