What an excellent time, hanging with friends, meeting new people and the opportunity to help out some charities at the same time.
I first heard about Give Camp when Mike Wood published his involvement at one of last years events. When Mike mentioned Grand Rapids I knew it was something I wanted to be involved with. Only a 5 hour drive from Cincinnati but it turned out that the drive was not going to be possible. Fortunately, with some great support and nagging from friends I decided we needed to organize a Cincinnati based satellite to see if we could help out.
Now that it is over, everyone is talking about doing our own in Cincinnati next year so here are some memories to remind us.
Over the coarse of the of the weekend twelve local developers volunteered their time and were able to contribute to 5 different projects with their Rails, PHP (Joomla/Drupal) and .Net (dotNetNuke) experience. A great diversity of skills allowed this group to really make a difference.
Thanks everyone, you rock, Rob Biedenharn, Brad Leydorf, Phil Japikse, Mark Haskamp, Frank Glandorf, Kevin Longshore, Bill Barnett, Gerard Sychay, Sunil Kommirshetty, Brian Harwell, Andy Douglas.
It was great working with the Grand Rapids team, Chris Woodruff, Ryan Montgomery, Carl Furrow, Luke Rumley, Emily Stoddard and an apparent endless list of others that I never got to talk to.
However, as with all experience, it wasn't just buttercups and blue bells. As a remote team we experienced the usual problems that distributed developers face. We had a hard time connecting with the teams in Grand Rapids. To make Give Camp Satellites more effective they really need full Voice/IM connections with the teams they work with.
On the first night Luke took on the the role of runner and was great at matching the experiences we had in Cincinnati with the work opportunities up there.
The second day involved us bugging people we learned about on the first day to see if we could help. We heard that they were mostly involved with design work and we were not UI people so the pickings were lean to start with. As the day rolled on we started getting more hits and ended up being able to make some real connections and contributing some positive changes.
The last day left us with one, particularly difficult, bug to address which ended up taking input from 5 developers, over 7 hours, to find the eventual 2 character fix. Oh Safari, the pain you put us through.
As the closing ceremony started in Grand Rapids, we had our own celebration with the most popular food of the weekend, a giant bag of M&M's and promises to work on a Cincinnati Give Camp next year.
Thanks to EdgeCase for donating their Cincinnati office space, and for those that work there, letting us use their desks and plug-in to their monitors.
Thanks to Finagilous for supplying food.
All Volunteers waiting for work
Bill, Frank and Mark
Rob and Bill
Kevin, Ed and Andy
Bill and Rob