It started on a Tuesday – The Dawn of SpawnCamp

The decision happened much earlier, but I was asked to be involved with helping

out with children’s activities at one of the earlier staff calls. At that time, I was

willing to get involved with any aspect of the Delaware Security BSides Conference,

and we were only twelve weeks out from the conference date. Being part of the

committee helping to plan the children’s activities didn’t seem like it would

overwhelm me, especially since some of the groundwork had already been laid.

The event organizers had been in touch with a local non-profit organization that

provides makerspace for creative people, and they had several pre-made activities

that had potential to entertain the little ones. Unfortunately over the subsequent

weeks, communications to this organization broke down, so alternative activities

were needed.

There were enough geeky parents and adult children on the committee, so when it

was time to brainstorm new ideas, it was not long before we were all excited about

the new ideas: Snap Circuit kits, Raspberry Pis, and butcher paper for coloring.

So off the organizers when in a flurry of purchasing and receiving, and flash forward

now to the day of the conference.


One of the reasons for this short narrative is because other event planners want to

know our plan, how we managed to have such a successful children’s event our first

time out. The answer: there was no real plan. We had some general conceptions on

what the event was going to encompass: Minecraft and Scratch on the Raspberry

Pis, building projects with the snap circuits, coloring for the really young.

On the day of the event was the first time I saw any of the kits that were purchased

for the spawn camp. One Raspberry PI kit for every registered child, ten snap circuit

kits, and some additional playthings. A quick plan was discussed and implemented

– building the Pis and working with Minecraft for a few hours in the morning,

followed by a few hours of scratch. The children would be free to move between the

Pi activities and the snap circuits at will, so long as they remained in the immediate


And it worked! The children who were given Pis learned a little about building

computers, about building out an operating system, a little about working in Scratch

and a bunch about Minecraft. Seems that some of the older hacklings were already

proficient in the game and were showing the rest all the cool features, even in the

striped down Pi version. The snap circuits were equally fun, using the kits for

competitions to see who could shoot the propeller the highest, or make the weirdest

sound, or who could make the most complicated contraption.

On the second day, some of the older spawn got a tad bored with the same activities,

so they ran off to hang with the Pros vs Joes capture the flag (CTF) competition and

learned a little about pen-testing. Which led to the ideas for the next CoN:

-More Raspberry Pis

-Larger Snap Circuit sets

-More programming classes – java for kids, additional Scratch

-For the older children, installing and working with Kali Pi and then letting them

loose into the CTF environment.


– RedErik, SpawnCamp Inaugural Ringleader


Kids are having a blast at @BSidesDE @heidishmoo
Kids are having a blast at @BSidesDE @heidishmoo
@jaimefilson #spawncamp day 2 @BSidesDE more snap circuits and networked minecraft!
@jaimefilson #spawncamp day 2 @BSidesDE more snap circuits and networked minecraft!