Tag Archives: Team

Happy Anniversary to US! – Part Two

*This is a continuation of our post Happy Anniversary to US! – Part One. You can read that post to find out what happened during our first six months. 

During the winter, Shawn and I moved into a new house and office, hired two part-time employees Courtney & Connor, Shawn started a new job outside of Campfire Apps, and we started planning projects for the new year. It was a slow few months compared to the previous three in terms of app development, but it was nice to take time to settle in to new routines and a new space.

In the Spring we started work on Caddy2Go, our mini golf scorekeeping app, which is very near and dear to us. We released our first “app” (not game) in May, just in time for Memorial Day weekend and the start of vacation season.

We wrapped up our cycle with our app club, and quickly realized that this was something that other schools were interested in. We had interest for our Patapsco APPlied Club trickling in from about February until the end of the school year. Shawn and I thought this might be a good time to pursue our passion for education and working with teens a little more seriously. So we started the APPlied Club brand / company! We didn’t have a great idea of where this would lead us, but we knew that word was spreading about the work we were doing and that it was probably in our best interest to keep up! Over the summer we taught 2 workshops to groups of teachers about how to run an APPlied Club at their own schools. We are happy to share that, right now, we have 8 other schools participating in APPlied Club this year! We started meeting with our group at Patapsco last week and we are really stoked about the possibilities we are opening ourselves to.

Knowing that we might have some other clubs under our wings this year, we spent most of the summer working on curriculum and content for APPlied Club. We also spent time working on Henry’s Summer Headlamp, the 4th game in the Henry Suite, for iOS and NOOK. We also worked on a version of Henry’s Smart Headlamp for NOOK.

That brings us close to today…whew! We have spent the last few weeks working on an update to our very first app, Henry’s Spooky Headlamp. We submitted for approval to Apple and NOOK last week and hope to share the updates with you very soon. It was nice to go back and work on that app again, it feels like we have come full circle. Man, have we had a busy year!

If you had told me a year ago that we would have released 5 games / apps under Campfire Apps, 2 more with APPlied Club, and be running two companies – I would have laughed at you! Our jobs are so enjoyable, we wear many different hats and play many different roles with each of our companies, but the rewards are so plentiful. There’s not a day that goes by that we aren’t thankful that we get to live this lifestyle and enjoy working for ourselves. Sure, we are crazy busy, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

It has been a wonderful year, thank you for joining us and supporting us in this adventure! To celebrate, we have a special announcement on Friday, stay tuned! In the coming weeks watch for a new version of Henry’s Spooky Headlamp (once again, just in time for the Halloween season) and our goals for this coming year.

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Happy Anniversary to US! – Part One

Today we are celebrating a pretty big milestone. It has been a little over a year since we first launched Campfire Apps in September of last year! It is hard to believe that it has already been a whole year, and yet, sometimes it seems like we have had much more time than that. It has been an extremely rewarding and busy first year. Today we would like to take some time and revisit our biggest milestones with you all.

Last summer I left my job teaching Kindergarten to pursue app development with Shawn full time. I had no idea when I first started out where that would take me. It has taken me almost the entire year to get used to the idea that this is now my job and that the freedoms and flexibilities of working for myself are well-earned. We spent the summer of 2011 ironing out details of how we would work together, what we would work on, and under what company we would continue. Shawn was running a hobbyist app development company, Shawn’s Bits, and had released quite a few games / apps under that brand. When I came on, and we wanted to re-brand and create something that was “ours” we came up with the idea for Campfire Apps. It has been a year and I am still as in love with and excited about our brand, the name of our company, and what we stand for as I was the day we hashed out our idea. That’s a good feeling.

In October 2011, we released our first game, Henry’s Spooky Headlamp. This was a little bit of a whirlwind as this was not the first game we had planned on. The first game was going to be a learning game but as Halloween approached we found an opportunity to release a fun and themed version of our learning game idea to test out the waters. This was my first time designing and creating artwork for anything that the public was going to see = nerve-wracking! The game did exceptionally well and we are currently waiting on approval for a second, updated version of this game (you’ll be hearing more about that soon).

After putting out Henry’s Spooky Headlamp on iOS, we felt really great about the product and the whole series of ideas we had for the character. At that time we set a pretty lofty goal of getting three apps (including Spooky Henry) to market by the beginning of the new year. (What were we thinking??) As if that wasn’t enough to keep us busy, one of us (okay, maybe it was both of us) had the idea to start an after-school app development club at our high school alma mater Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts. We started in October meeting with about 10 kids after school once a week to teach them all about making apps and the business of apps. We called this club Patapsco APPlied Club.

The end of Autumn and Winter last year were crazy busy for us – and we loved every minute of it! We worked really hard to get two more apps to market by January: Henry’s Smart Headlamp and Henry’s Winter Headlamp, which were released about two weeks apart in November and December. In December we also started developing apps for the Barnes & Noble NOOK devices. It was a really great opportunity to reach more families with our games and we still love developing for NOOK and currently have 3 apps available.

During this time we were also working with our high school students on their first app. Together we were working on an app for the school to share good news, events, and important information. In February the students released their first app PHSConnect. This was very exciting and the group received a lot of great press about the club and their app. Immediately after finishing the app, we started work on a game with the students. This game would become Patriot Dash and was released in May at an awesome launch party.

This year has been awesome…and we are only half way through! We will be back on Wednesday with the rest of the journey to today. 2012 has been just as good to us as 2011 was, check back on Wednesday to read Part Two!

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We’re back!

The Campfire Apps team has been doing quite a lot recently! The most recent app we’ve released is the Caddy2Go - a miniature golf score keeping app, just in time for summertime family fun. Make sure to check that out! It’s free for a limited time!

The PHS APPlied Club came to a close at the end of the school year. We finished of the year with a launch party of our second app, Patriot Dash. The students were so excited that they were able to release two apps in a year’s time, however they were very upset for the year to end. They’re all looking forward to next year, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store!

Our summer began with a week long APPlied Club Summer Institute. We worked with 25 Baltimore County teachers to teach each of them how to start their own APPlied Club at their school. We hope that they will take all of this information back to their schools and do great things with it! To learn more, click here.

We hope that your summer is off to a great start! Keep an eye out for more posts from Campfire Apps coming soon!

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Last Call!

We are making this our final call for testers! We have had a great response to our testing program and have gathered a wonderful group of families and teachers to help us test our apps before submission. We are looking for a few more people to sign up to help us with testing and then we will be closing testing for the time being. If this is something you are interested in participating in, this is your last chance!

Campfire Apps testers enjoy early access to our apps as they become available. All we ask is that you take some time to play the games and use our apps with your families or students and then answer a quick survey about your experience. You can participate in as many test cycles as you would like. And, perhaps the best part, is that you get our apps for FREE!

Currently, we are looking for testers with Apple devices (iPads, iPhone, iPod touch) and Kindle Fire devices.

If this sounds interesting to you, sign up below:

If you are a parent / family, please follow this link to sign up:
Family Testers

If you are a teacher, please follow this link to sign up:
Teacher Testers

If you are a Kindle Fire owner, please follow this link to sign up:
Kindle Fire Testers

We want to extend a huge thank you to those of you who have already responded to our call for testers and have been involved in helping us with this very important step of the development process! We would also like to thank any of you who may join our testing team this time around. Remember, this is your last chance.

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APPlied Club Progess

The APPlied Club at Patapsco High School has been working very hard on finishing up their first app, and it’s almost complete! Shawn and Connor have been finishing the app’s final touches and getting it ready to be sent to Apple for approval. As a group, the club has been learning the guidelines and steps of pre-marketing. They’ve spent time brainstorming ideas of how they can market the app and get people excited and talking about it. Some of these ideas include making video trailers, posts on social networks, leaking sketches of the app, and word of mouth. They will be submitting the app to Apple for approval within the next few days and then they will begin the marketing process. We are looking forward to sharing the app with all of you! You can keep up with us at http://phs.appliedclub.org/ or here at the Campfire Apps blog.

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Introducing… Connor Mathena, Developer

Hello! Connor Mathena is my name and my job at Campfire Apps will be to help develop new apps, come up with ideas for new apps, and update previous apps! I am currently in my last year of high school at Patapsco High School & Center for the Arts.

I have many interests including photography, cooking, music, and of course technology. Technology is ingrained into my life to the point in which i can not even imagine how my life would be without it, I always have it on my mind or body. I never go anywhere without my iPhone or my camera.

This position with Campfire Apps will further my knowledge in technology and that just excites me so much! I am always trying to keep up with what is new and always try to immerse myself in it.

To check out some of my photography work at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cdmmdc123

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Introducing… Courtney Parto, Communications Specialist

Hey there! My name is Courtney Parto and I’m the Communications Specialist for Campfire Apps. This means that I’ll be in charge of writing the blog entries that you’ll be reading on this website. I’m currently a junior in high school, and I hope to study English Education or Journalism after graduating.

I’ve used technology all of my life, and I can’t imagine my life without it. I not only use technology at home, but also in school. Nowadays, technology is a vital part of the average American teenager’s education. Many teachers post assignments and news on their own personal websites for students to check and keep ourselves up to date. It’s much easier for us students because we can access this information from anywhere. Unfortunately, now we have no good excuses for not doing our homework.

I enjoy being a part of the “tech generation” and I’m really looking forward to my new position working for Campfire Apps. I can’t wait to share my thoughts with you through the blog posts.

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Welcome to the New Year!

Happy 2012 everyone! The Campfire Apps team has been busy getting ready for a whole new year and the second half of our first year as a company. Over the last few weeks, we have had a couple major changes that we have been working on. First of all, Shawn and Stephanie moved into a new place, which means a new headquarters and office space for Campfire Apps. It’s been nice to start the new year off in a new work space, it’s quite inspiring. The second big change we have been working on is introducing our two new interns, Courtney and Connor, to the world of Campfire Apps. Both high school students, Courtney and Connor are a great addition to the team and will be contributing to our projects in many ways. Courtney will be taking over the blog as our new Communications Specialist and Connor is learning a lot and helping Shawn with programming as a Developer. We look forward to working more with them  and sharing their talents with you.

We are all so excited for what this new year has in store for Campfire Apps. We have a few new products already planned for the new year, but we are also looking so forward to all of the unplanned surprises along the way. Happy New Year to all of you and your families and we hope you will check in with us throughout the year!

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Education Hack Day Recap

Last weekend the Campfire Apps team attended Education Hack Day at Digital Harbor High School in Baltimore. The event was a weekend-long hack-a-thon where teachers paired with developers in teams to produce products to match ideas teachers submitted for ways that technology could enhance their classrooms. The event was the first of its kind in Baltimore and was a great success.

It was wonderful to see so many people working hard together over the weekend to develop products that can be really useful to teachers and educators. There were a ton of great ideas that were pitched and at the end of the weekend there were 10 final products that were demonstrated.

We worked on our first app to be released for teachers, What’s Due?. This app is an assignment tracking app for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Teachers will be able to track assignments by student and sent alerts and reminders when assignments are due, plus much more. It is not complete just yet, but we hope to have it available for download next month.

We had a great time over the weekend working on the app. Our team consisted of Shawn and myself, my sister Jackie – who is pursuing a Master’s in Teaching in Social Studies, and our new intern Rahul. On Saturday, Jackie, Shawn, and I hashed out our idea and started deciding on features for the app. Jackie and I then started wireframing the app with paper and pencil. Shawn began storyboarding the app in the development program and worked on this until 4:30 Sunday morning! I worked on the artwork and interface elements last Saturday night. Then, Sunday afternoon Rahul joined us and helped Shawn with the programming in order to enable us to have a working demo for the presentations. Jackie joined us for a once over before the presentations began and then Shawn and I presented our demonstration to the audience.

Alas, we didn’t win, but we had an awesome time and it was such a great event, we were honored to be a part of it all. You can read more about the event on The Baltimore Sun’s website and the Education Hack Day’s website. You can see a few screenshots that we shared of the app What’s Due? on our Facebook page.

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Meet Henry (and his Magic Headlamp)!

Today, we would like to formally introduce you to someone you may be seeing a lot of in the future. This is Henry…

Henry is the main character of our new app. Well not just Henry, his headlamp too!

Henry is a little guy who loves big adventures. He is loosely inspired by someone we know in real life, our own dear little Henry.

These are the sketches of Henry done by our designer, Susie, before he was made digital. Susie is quite the artist and a few weeks ago, I got to see her bring Henry to life in these drawings right before my eyes. Before that day, Henry was just a character we had talked a little about, he didn’t really have a personality or a look to him. Susie has really helped to bring the character we had in mind to life.

I can’t tell you exactly what the app is just yet, you will have to wait until next week to find that out. However, I can tell you that Henry is very busy preparing to delight and entertain his new friends!

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