Empowering the Next Gen: F5 Volunteers Join Forces with Students for an Unmissable Cybersecurity Summer Camp

Chad Davis Miniatura
Chad Davis
Published August 03, 2023

Welcome to the thrilling world of cybersecurity education. As the summer sun blazed overhead, young minds eager to delve into the exciting realm of digital defense gathered at the highly anticipated AFA CyberCamp. With the invaluable assistance of dedicated F5 volunteers, this year's camp promised to be an unforgettable experience for all participants.

AFA CyberCamps have been meticulously designed to cater to both high school and middle school students who share a passion for cybersecurity, whether they are just venturing into this captivating field or already have a foundation of knowledge and an insatiable thirst for more. Hosted by approved organizations and institutions that are registered with the esteemed CyberPatriot Program Office, these camps encompass a diverse range of participants, including AFA chapters, schools, universities, CAP squadrons, industry companies, and even Boys & Girls Clubs—embracing a multitude of backgrounds and perspectives.

The scene was set for a summer brimming with fellowship, exploration, and learning, as F5 volunteers Sam Park and Ivan Reyes Mendez stood eager to impart their expertise and inspire the next generation of cyber defenders.

“For me, it was an easy call to take this opportunity to give back to our community,” says Sam Park. “I enjoy helping the kids understand technology and see their joy when they grasp it.”

“I decided to volunteer as an instructor for the CyberCamp to give back to my community here in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area,” adds Ivan Reyes Mendez. “Attending public schools in D.C., I was aware of the lack of STEM programs in many of the surrounding communities, so it was great to be part of an initiative with AT&T, F5, and other partners to give the kids of the community free access to cybersecurity training through their weeklong CyberCamp.”

With a blend of engaging hands-on activities, thought-provoking discussions, and real-world challenges, the AFA CyberCamps became the ultimate breeding ground for aspiring cybersecurity enthusiasts to sharpen their skills and hone their talents with topics covered, including:

  • Cybersecurity principles, basic Windows security policies and tools, account management, windows file protections, and auditing and monitoring
  • Introduction to Linux, Ubuntu 18 terminology and concepts, basic GUI security, and intro to CLI
  • Basic command line security and intermediate Ubuntu security
  • Cyber ethics and related considerations

Reyes Mendez beautifully encapsulates the essence of the camp's impact when he expresses, “I liked how the camp was able to display to the community how diverse and inclusive the cybersecurity workforce is today.” Indeed, this camp has been more than just a gathering of young minds interested in cybersecurity; it has served as a beacon of hope, showcasing the power of diversity and inclusivity in our collective defense against cyber threats.

While campers delved into serious topics throughout the week, exploring the intricacies of cyber defense, the camp's concluding event on Friday brought a heartwarming sense of togetherness. As the students celebrated their newfound knowledge and skills, an end-of-the-week pizza party served as a symbolic reminder that learning and growth can be both enjoyable and rewarding.

Watch local NBC news coverage of the camp here.