I am a proud Maker Mom. No, my children are not prodigies, the next Ender, or being tapped by a major science or math type programs... they are simply insanely curious, wanting to learn, needing to build, and having to share what they made, kids... as are yours (if you are a parent, grandparent, custodian, or mentor). I think the misconception many people have about Maker Faire in general is, you have to be science-y or math-y to have the geek cred in order to get in... holy smokes batman, if that were the case, I would have never been made the cut afterall, I'm "just a crafter/artist/inventor/author/play in the dirt type" with a background in forensics and finance... My family did not even have a computer until my sophomore year of college (I know, I heard the audible gasp there)
My qualifications for being a Maker Mom started early in life. I was the product of craftspeople, folks who had a tool shed, a designated workspace, and a mindset that said, "if we don't have it, we can build it... or at least something that could work in a pinch." My childhood was a giant shopclass. I also happened to be one of those kids that found themselves on the short side of a parent's patience (codespeak for, "go to your room and think about what you did!") on a regular basis. We did not have distractions like gaming systems or television in our rooms. My parents, being a particular brand of evil, would give my brothers and I old dictionaries, atlases, and encyclopedias (which after we got done reading and flipping through were discovered to be heavy enough to hold a tented bedsheet on a dresser for "Fort Solitude") I was Calvin and my brother was Hobbes. We lived for cardboard refrigerator boxes and a hammer with a handful of nails. Being sent to our room was like a Maker Faire... we were given the time to think and the freedom to build, to carve out our own little world from what was on hand.
I've been a Designer/Inventor in the Craft and Hobby Association for almost 14 years now, a part of Maker Faire since its inception, and am rabid advocate for the Young Maker movement and MakerEd. Our kids are Hackschoolers (they go to a virtual academy) and they spend their afternoons in local makerspaces, fab labs, on set, in studio, or in the classroom (teaching along side me)- they are surrounded by Makers. My deepest wish is that all kids have the chance to be surrounded by Makers as well. Our mission as a family has always been to share what we know to equip, enable, and inspire, others to make the world they want to live in... this starts by teaching others how to carve time out of their every day in order to make their mark on the timeline of history.
This year at Maker Faire San Francisco I am hoping to teach Moms, Parents, Grandparents, and Mentors how to not only carve time out of their days to make, but impress upon them the need for us as a culture to embrace making in our everyday lives and sharing what we have learned with others in a meaningful way. As always, Maker Moms Bootcamp is an interactive class... you will roll up your sleeves, learn a skill to share (so you can feel confident when visiting local Makerspaces or building your own at the Kitchen Table), and go home with something purposefully made and designed to make your mark on the world. I believe that when we decide to make things, we invest in what it is to be human. Every kid is a maker- the worlds they come up with are possible if we take the time to give them the tools to do so.