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2007-11-17 - Added organization, Lorins unconference website software and a few other update

A week or two ago a few guys wanting to get some ideas about running code camps. It has taken on a life of it's own but here are some notes I made based on running code camps in South Florida. I'll edit and add to this as the discussion progresses.

 

Organization

  • Very important not to try and do it all  yourself, get others involved.
  • Planning is key
  • Start at least a few months out, lining up venue, sponsors
  • Pay attention to basics. Venue, signage, food, directions.

 

Venue

  • Free is good!
  • Devry universities around the country seem to be open to dev events for no charge.
  • In Florida community colleges charge some fees
  • Best if you can have one large room or auditorium to accommodate everyone and then a bunch of classrooms.
  • Don’t forget plenty of signage the day of the event.

 

Speakers

  • Local / new speakers (chance to grow the community)
  • MVP / RD
  • MS DE’s can help a lot!
  • We still use a word doc signup

 

Promotion

  • Pull in all local user groups
  • Promote to your members
  • MSDN Flash
  • Blogs

 

Sponsors

  • Anti-manifesto but I claim there has never been a code camp without sponsors (Microsoft is a sponsor too!)
  • The cheaper you can do the event, the less you have to worry about this.
  • Recruiters, training companies,  hosting companies and some component vendors will supply money.
  • Don't need a full schedule, just a date to get going. All sponsors want to know an approximate attendance.
  • We don't (no code camp I'm aware of) share the registration list with sponsors.

 

Volunteers

  • User group members
  • We get students from the university where we have the event
  • Many times spouses are willing to put in a Saturday

 

Food

  • Pizza is the easiest (3-4 people per pizza)
  • No food is an option but not normal
  • Easy on breakfast, not everyone will show up at 8am

 

Swag

  • Microsoft (we use as a last resort)
  • Recruiters
  • Component vendors (Infragistics, ComponentONe, Nevron, Ideablade)
  • Magazines (asp.net pro, code, msdn)
  • Publishers (apress, wrox, wiley, sams, etc)
  • Some will give money all will give product.
  • Local companies (training, consulting, large corp)

 

Website

 

Resources

  • Local DE’s are very important
  • MVPs and RDs in the area

 

Evals

  • Can keep it simple, just have blank evals for the speakers to give out and collect for their own use and then have one for the overall event.
  • Don’t get roped into having people spend time manually entering evals afterwards, removes all the fun of code camp!
  • Some have tried online evals after the fact
  • Some use a composite eval with say six sections + a section on the back for the overall conference and use it to give out swag at the end.
  • These are a trade off between easy, response rate and tabulation overhead.
posted on Thursday, November 15, 2007 10:30 PM

Feedback

# re: Running Code Camps 11/16/2007 8:52 AM Catto
Hey Now Dave,
I'm looking forward to this years South Fla Code Camp. Last years was stellar. Thx for all the time you put in to contribute to these events.
Catto


# re: Running Code Camps 11/16/2007 10:35 AM Healy
linked at http://www.devfish.net/FullBlogItemView.aspx?BlogId=466

# re: Running Code Camps 11/16/2007 3:37 PM Paul
How do you integrate using technology into the code camp?

Geeky stuff like using IRC for all the attendees? They can sit in a classroom and yap about what's being presented. It can act as a social networking tool (so that interested parties can get together after to discuss/debate) and as an eval of the event to see which presentations were hot topics for discussion and which weren't.

# re: Running Code Camps 11/16/2007 9:52 PM Jim Minatel
Great list Dave! Want to let everyone know two Wrox URLs of interest for these:
For swag and books, please contact us through our user group page:
http://newsletter.wrox.com/optin.asp?template=USERGROUPS
I think this will get your event mentioned in our newsletter too.

And to announce your event in our forums, please use:
http://p2p.wrox.com/forum.asp?FORUM_ID=242

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