I spent last weekend doing coding as a charity for non-profits as a part of New England Give Camp 2011. The short version: 100+ volunteer developers get together and help 20+ non profits with all their technology/website needs for an entire weekend.
The longer version of the story details how little sleep happens, how much amazing work can get done in a single weekend and learning where the tires really hit the pavement. That story also has to showcase the people who put this thing together and worked so hard before the event to make it happen. The things the sponsors provided were exactly what was needed. The venue (Microsoft’s 1 Memorial Drive office) was also a big piece of the story. 100+ very true uber-geeks with laptops and the WiFi was 100% on and super fast the entire weekend.
I didn’t know the event existed until my friend Chris from VT asked if he could spend the night. Serendipitously my wife and kids were out of town for the weekend and my plans involved mostly lawn work. So I contacted some other friends I found out were going and got myself signed up.
My team created a companion pet memorial site for the Maine Society for the Protection of Animals. We also did some training on how they could use their drupal based website to publish new articles without burdening their already over-worked web-master, freeing him up to do more creative/compelling things with their site. I’m a little bummed we didn’t “launch” the additions to the site over the weekend, but we did get it running on their development server, and I’m confident they’ll be pushing live at which point I’ll update this post.
The end of the weekend involves each team presenting what they’ve done and it became very clear how much work really happened. The whole thing was an eye opener on many levels.
I’ll do it again if the family commitments allow.