Geeks With Blogs
Dennis Bottjer | MVP

“What we learned and could do better next time.”




    On August 27th 2005 JaxDug hosted Jacksonville's first ever Code Camp.  The following is a reflection of what we learned.  This is advice we would give to other user groups and are suggestions we intend to follow ourselves when planning future events.




  • Make sure due dates, task assignments, and expectations are clearly communicated.
  • Exchange contact information.  Relying on one form of communication such as email is a point of failure for important tasks.
  • A final walkthrough/dress rehearsal will reduce the likelihood of surprises such as missing equipment.



  • Overestimate lunch.  Left over food can usually be donated to a shelter.
  • Account for alternative diets such as Vegetarian and non-pork.
  • Add dietary disclaimer to code camp site explaining what will be provided and near by dining alternatives.
  • Serving breakfast is a good option b/c not everyone will choose to eat breakfast and it can double as a snack throughout the day.
  • Offer orange juice if serving breakfast for this was a common request.
  • Stock plenty of water.
  • Simple white table clothes for the serving tables are a nice touch.
  • Remember plastic knives to cut bagels if served.
  • Remember plenty of paper plates and napkins.
  • Have extra trash bags.
  • Create a VIP/Speaker lounge for lunch.
    • New speakers are often nervous; a red carpet treatment will go far.
    • Treat speakers well and they will return.
    • Good speakers make a good code camp.
  • Have multiple food tables to keep the lines short.

 Facilities and Registration:


  • Keep rooms as close together as possible.
  • Clearly mark where to park with signs.
  • Potentially use balloons to indicate registration and parking areas.
  • Printed name tags for those that pre-registered are a nice touch.
  • Have available plenty of blank name tags for the unregistered.
  • Assign a greeter role:
    • Direct groups to breakfast
    • Point out bathrooms
    • Welcome them
  • Start the Introduction/Keynote on time
  • Potentially have an introduction in the morning and a keynote during the lunch hour w/ a big name speaker.  This speaker would then not compete with the normal session but still act as a draw for the code camp.

 Speakers and Scheduling:


  • Prepare a speaker tip sheet including such items as:
    • Must bring your own laptop, mouse, keyboard, etc.
    • An overhead project will be provided.
    • Assume no Internet connectivity is available.
    • Saving a backup of your code and presentation to a thumb drive is recommended incase of equipment failure.
  • Try to gather preliminary session interest to help schedule.
  • Consider repeating popular sessions



  • Planning a code camp is a huge responsibility delegation and teamwork will go a long way.
  • A well organized portal like web site help keep everyone informed.
Posted on Thursday, September 8, 2005 12:54 AM Community | Back to top

Comments on this post: Jacksonville Code Camp 2005 Reflections

No comments posted yet.
Your comment:
 (will show your gravatar)

Copyright © DennisBottjer | Powered by: