Well, the big day has come and gone, and we survived. Not only did we survive, but I think we did pretty well. Our first code camp took place on Saturday, and I have to say, it was an amazing experience. You can’t have a code camp without speakers, and we were extremely fortunate to have 19 great speakers covering 21 sessions. There were only a couple of minor glitches, and we learned a hell of a lot about running a code camp — what to do, what not to do, and what to change. We’re still going through the feedback forms, but there were a lot of lessons learned, and I’d love to share that. My next blog post or two will be a detailed checklist of what we did, or what I recommend future code camps do even though we may have missed it.

I already thanked several people via email, and I also want to publicly thank them here. There’s no way we could have ever pulled this off without help from several people. Besides Louis and Leo, my co-chairs for the user groups and this event, we also had great help from Sylvia and Vicki from the UCONN School of Business office, Bill Zack and Peter Laudati of Microsoft, the caterers providing the food and clearing out between meals, and the UCONN facilities staff for setting up the tables and keeping the registration area neat and clean. Did I forget anyone? Oh, yes, all of the speakers: Steve Andrews, John Avery, John Baird, Jean Barmash, Andrew Brust, Hilary Cotter, Michael de la Maza, Don (XML) Demsak, Dave Douglass, Wendy Friedlander, Kevin S. Goff, Pete Gomis, Peter Laudati, Robert Sedor, Jason Sliss, Rob Walling, Lambert Wixson, John Zablocki, and Bill Zack.

Finally, I want to thank all of the attendees who came out, even with the skies threatening all day. About 80 people showed up, and all of the sessions were well attended. I hope you got as much out of the experience as we did.

Jean Barmash’s Session

When Louis, Leo and I restarted the user group back in June under the new Fairfield / Westchester .NET User Group name, I envisioned it growing into experiences like Saturday. But I never, ever imagined it would happen only five months after we began! The dedication from Leo and Louis has been incredible, and we have so many other plans for the developer community. I don’t even remember who brought up the idea of having a code camp so soon, but I jumped on it right away, after my experience attending the ones in NYC back in March and in 2006. At first, it felt that this may have been more than we could handle after such little experience, but the .NET and SQL Server User Groups started out so well, so we figured, why not? The support from Microsoft played a HUGE role in giving us confidence that we could make this happen.

We are also very blessed that Louis is able to work with CITI to provide us with such a great venue for holding these events at UCONN. A venue such as this eliminates so many headaches when trying to organize an event.

Although I was only able to sit in on small parts of just a few sessions, speaking to the attendees and reading the evaluation forms told me that they got as much out of Saturday that I got from the code camps I attended in the past. That makes this totally worth every minute spent on organizing and running it. It’s an extremely gratifying experience! One day I look forward to speaking on a topic myself.

Thanks to everyone who helped make our first attempt at this type of event such a successful (and scary, and draining) experience.