DETROIT – While the January weather might be cold, the folks at the Michigan CyberPatriot program (www.micyberpatriot.com) are warming up by planning our big annual celebration. We are focusing in on the April date for our 3rd annual award and celebration event. Our members will determine the perfect date to celebrate the achievements of our Michigan CyberPatriot teams and you are all invited to take part.
As professionals in IT and Cybersecurity your involvement in this program is critical. So, we need for you to get involved to help us grow this program and to help us celebrate that growth and the amazing efforts these Middle School and High School have put forward this season.
A little background for the Michigan CyberPatriot program: we founded this program in 2015 to grow Michigan’s involvement with the program sweeping the nation. The AFA’s national virtual program has five components (www.uscyberpatriot.org): The Middle School and High School competition season from October-March, the K-5 free awareness game program, the summer camps, the book series and the Cybergenerations program for senior citizens safety.
We have grown the number of students, volunteers, cities and schools participating in this wonderful program in Michigan, and much, much more. In 2015 we had 4 teams with a total of 20 students signed up to participate in CyberPatriot. In 2017 we became the Air Force Association’s 12th Center of Excellence in the nation. That award was based on all the efforts we have made to grow this program. Now, in 2019 we have 182 teams for a total of 910 students in the game!
We also received our first funding in 2017 to help pay for the registration fees for 80 teams that year, thanks to MEDC and the Michigan National Guard. In 2018 we received a grant from the Michigan Department of Education that paid for team registrations, teacher stipends, supplies and equipment. That grant rolled over in 2019 and not only paid for the same items as in 2018 but it also allowed us to fund teacher training, summer camps and our spring celebration.
This fall we received a small addition to our grant that made it possible to offer all Michigan teams digital badges for participation. But alas that funding has run out and we still want to continue to grow this program in Michigan.
That is why we are counting on this community to get involved.
You can help this program by volunteering to be a Coach or Mentor. Our Michigan teachers are stretched thin as it is and as an IT or Cybersecurity professional you can make a difference in the classroom and help the next generation stay one step ahead of the bad guys. Heck you don’t even have to leave the house or office. Since many of our schools are in the wilds of our beautiful state, you can help a team via web conferencing, whether you have only one day a month or can meet weekly.
You can also make a difference by making a tax deductible donate or sponsorship. What company wouldn’t want to be listed as supporters of this amazing program? With your help we can get the word out on how easy it is to donate. www.micyberpatriot.com follow the non-profit PayPal button. We are also hoping to keep the tradition of our Spring Celebration and Summer camps alive. We need volunteers, speakers, sponsors and a free venue that will hold 300-500 students. Our teachers have stayed committed and their numbers have grown without the free registrations, stipends, supplies and equipment. We know that this community will also step-up and pay it forward supporting the next generation of “Hometown Cyber Heroes!”