Harbor Hacks Overview

DHF Harbor Hacks is an opportunity for young makers to collaborate together on innovative projects with the guidance of experienced tech mentors. This hackathon will be a weekend long event that will end with all teams presenting their products to a panel of judges and a public audience for review and feedback. The chosen winning teams will be based on multiple prize tracks including: Hardware, Software and Fan Favorite.

Story Behind DHF Harbor Hacks

Several youth from DHF have been participating in local hackathons, including the 2015 and 2017 Baltimore Hackathon and the 2016 and 2017 Abilities Hackathon. They loved these events because they got to spend time alongside the Baltimore tech community for an entire weekend and work alongside them or in teams with them.

But they were always disappointed that more youth weren’t involved. When considering why more youth didn’t attend, our youth felt it was because there wasn’t a chance for them to get comfortable with hackathons by working with other youth. Our youth proposed hosting a youth-focused hackathon where youth from Baltimore could participate in a hackathon meant specifically for them to introduce them to the concept, but more importantly, to potential mentors in the tech community who would support them throughout the weekend.

Do I Have To Be a DHF Youth?

No, the DHF Harbor Hacks is open to all youth aged: 12-18.

What is a Hackathon?

A hackathon (also known as a hack day, hackfest or codefest) is a design sprint in which programmers and others involved in technology, including graphic designers, interface designers, project managers, and others, collaborate intensively on a project. Hackathons typically last between a day and a week (ours will be a weekend). Some hackathons are intended simply for educational or social purposes.

Hackathon Sponsors


$1,000 in prizes

Software Category Prize

The team that places first in the software category will receive $500.

Hardware Category Prize

The team that places first in the hardware category will receive $500.

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:


  1. Each participant may compete individually or as part of one team, but not both, and not on multiple teams/projects.
  2. Teams will be limited 5 youth to keep competition fair and healthy. Please list all team members that contributed to your project on your presentation in the “Team Members” slide, even if they did not officially sign up for the hackathon. It is not fair to receive extra outside help without disclosing that information so the judges can take that into consideration (don’t try to make it look like 2 people did the work of 4).


Participants are eligible to submit their projects to win in only ONE of the following categories:

  • Software
  • Hardware

Software includes video games and web projects.


Jason Hardebeck

Jason Hardebeck
CEO at The Foundery

Marty McGuire

Marty McGuire
Freelance Developer

Ellie Mitchell

Ellie Mitchell
Director at the Maryland Out of School Time (MOST) Network

Vakul More

Vakul More
Mayor's Office of Information Technology

Judging Criteria

  • Difficulty and Challenge
    Did you challenge yourself? What new skills did you learn?
  • Communication
    Did you communicate with each other? How well did the team communicate with the judges?
  • Does it Work?
    Does the project function as intended? What is the level of completeness? How does the output compare to what the team envisioned?
  • Presentation
    How does the project look?
  • Innovation
    Is it an original project?

Questions? Email the hackathon manager

Tell your friends

Hackathon sponsors

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