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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.
I've spoken at four Code Camps and chaired one in Charleston. I'm gearing up to do another one in September. Today someone asked me if I had any advice/suggestions for running a code camp. If there's anything I'm full of, it's suggestions.  :)
This is what I came up with:
 - plan things as far in advance as possible. we did Charleston in 3 months, this one in 6 months.
 - promote early and often, in every way you can think of.
 - involve the local colleges and universities!!
 - contact as many supporters (magazine & book publishers, software companies, etc) as possible.
 - acquire as much swag as possible and let your speakers give some out during their sessions
 - have some special speaker swag too, those guys deserve it more than anyone.
 - get your DE or DCC to cough up money for food or facilities.
 - get your local booksamillion or barnes&noble to donate bags for the attendees.
 - get as many volunteers as possible and have one person be the volunteer coordinator.
 - have another person be the food coordinator.
 - in case you haven't figured it out yet, don't try to do it all yourself!
 - get Robin Edwards involved, she rocks!
 - get a web page up with as much detail as possible as early as possible. update it often!
 - don't rely solely on other people to submit sessions, recruit speakers you know do well.
 - even the good ones still have to be nagged for pics, bios and slides!!
 - I let MSDN events handle registration, which wasn't bad but was probably unnecessarily complex. We used a dedicated gmail account for our community launch and that worked GREAT! Portland used a Yahoo group, which worked well too, as I recall.
 - (Depending on the facilities you are using, such as a college or large company...) if you are providing food, consider getting the internal food service to cater your event. Not only will it build goodwill towards future events, but you might get a pretty competitive deal in the process.
 - Code Camps don't have sponsors, but don't let that keep you from having supporters and contributors. Swag doesn't just show up without being requested. Most companies in our industry understand Code Camps by now, but you still have to ask them. Don't turn your code camp into a marketing fest.
 - Don't let recruiters actively recruit at the event. If they want to leave some cards on the free stuff table, that's fine... but don't let it turn into a recruiting event. That annoys folks pretty quick.
Posted on Friday, March 17, 2006 7:27 AM General Interest | Back to top

Comments on this post: running a successful code camp

# re: running a successful code camp
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I'm honored to be held in such high regard by Chris because he truly is an evangelist for .NET. I told him when he moved I was riding his coat tail, what a ride it has been!!

Just curious, would you like my help with your next Code Camp :)
Left by Robin on Mar 23, 2006 3:32 PM

# re: running a successful code camp
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damn straight!
Left by Chris Williams on Mar 23, 2006 5:25 PM

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