At least that’s the feedback I hear so far. We had an extra track this year, and longer sessions. We had 25 in total, including a lunch session bridging the gap between a two part presentation by Richard Hale Shaw. We were hoping to get around 100 attendees this year after last year’s 80, but it turned out so much greater. 205 people signed up before we had to shut down registration due to overcrowding concerns. And even so, we had walk-ins.
Running these things are incredibly exhausting, but so, so, so worth it! The craziness is mainly early in the morning, when everyone is registering. Thankfully, Silvia Goncalves and my wife, Lorri, saved the day. It was a last minute decision for Lorri to come, so she could take photos of each session. But it turned out her help was greatly needed for registration. We did not expect the kind of rush we had, and there’s no way Silvia could have handled it on her own. Last year she had Vicki to help her. Thanks Lorri! I love you!
But the real craziness started even earlier, when we had to pick up breakfast from Dunkin’ Donuts. I had placed the order on the phone on Thursday, and clearly mentioned several times that it was for Saturday morning pickup. Of course, they called me on Friday, wondering where I was. I was afraid they’d keep the same set of food for Saturday, but, thankfully, it was fresh.
Then, on Saturday morning, Lorri and I met Rob Sedor at Dunkin’ for the pickup. We must have all been half asleep, because after thinking we filled the cars, and just about to shut the doors, one of the workers ran out with a couple of bags of Munchkins we forgot to take. We squeezed those into the cars, and took off, stopping at the red light on the corner, when I get a call. From Dunkin’. Telling me to wait. Again. With three workers running out with the bags of 120 bagels! How did we forget the bagels?!?
Of course, I left my space pen there (since their pen ran out of ink). The girl who helped us told me she put it aside for me. I just hope it’s still there tomorrow.
Either way, I think breakfast came off really well, and I definitely recommend Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast for events like this. Their coffee is great, and the food was perfect breakfast food, and everything was packed nicely.
Silvia helped us get breakfast up to the second floor, and I think I lost like 10 pounds just going back and forth to the car and up and down the stairs. Thankfully, a couple of carts and an elevator helped us finish and give my aching knees a temporary break.
It did not take long for the mad rush of attendees, well before the starting 8:00 general session. Lorri and Silvia kept them in line, and got a good flow going quickly, while Leo Junquera, Louis Edouard and Rob made sure all the rooms had working equipment, posted signs (he made some great wall posters of the schedule with a plotter), and prepared for the general session, and I ran around making last minute corrections to the signs with the marker.
I love how people naturally organize themselves at these events. Except for getting people over a few technical issues, and some coordination hot spots, after our preparation, it’s really run by the presenters and attendees.
I spent most of the rest of the day taking short videos of each of the sessions, while Lorri took photos. I’ll have them posted soon on the code camp website. Figures that her camera’s auto-focus died on her during the day. Too bad Lorri and I had to leave before the last session, the raffles, and the speaker dinner, but illness struck us suddenly. Of course, Leo, Louis and Rob brought the rest of it home.
Thanks so much, everyone! Amazing job by all! Also a huge thanks to Microsoft! I’ll try to list everyone here, in order of appearance 😉
Richard Hale Shaw
Allan da Costa Pinto
Michael de la Maza
Connecticut Information Technology Institute (CITI)
University of Connecticut (UCONN)
The Capital Grille
I plan on updating my original lists I put together after last year’s code camp. We learned more this year about how to run these, and I’m sure we’ll continue to learn more each year.
Maybe, now that code camp is done, I’ll get back to more regular blog posts. But, then again, the NYC code camp is rumored for January, and I volunteered to help with that…
Thank you and thanks to everyone else involved in organizing another successful code camp.
The breakfast and lunch were much appreciated and all of the speakers were very organized. My only
suggestion for improvement if there is another code camp next year is to have more prizes because
as good as the presentations were some people were left leaving with nothing not even a T-Shirt.
Although it is impossible to have books and an X-box for every attendee there are other items
that can be provided such as discount coupons for O’Rielly books and certification exams.
Someone made mention that we should pay an annual dues for the .NET user group meetings. BAD IDEA!!
This is the subject for future blogs.
Thanks for the comments. I’ll discuss discount coupons, etc. with the team.
But I hope people don’t feel like they left with nothing. I hope they left feeling like they left with more knowledge than when they came in with.
I agree with you on the annual dues. A large feature of UGs is that they’re free. But voluntary contributions could be an option we wouldn’t turn down 😉
The raffle was setup in such a way that allowed one person to walk away with 2 prizes because he first won a book and then his ticket was put back into the drawing for the better prizes.
The best prizes should of been raffled off first and then the remaining books should of been raffled off. It was not fair that one person got 2 prizes while most people got no prizes.
Hmmm. We’ll have to revisit that for next year’s raffle. There’s always room for improvements.
The goal was to increase anticipation towards the top prizes, but we should keep the winners of previous prizes out of the running.
LOL! I came last. I gotta drive faster. 🙂
Hehe… Actually, Milan, it was mainly in speaker order, but since you weren’t a speaker (I think your dog ate your homework or something 😉 ), I just added you to the end. You actually were close to the first arrivals, probably just after Peter.