Columbus Give Camp 2009

Multiple nonprofit organizations have asked me why developers would give up a weekend to help them, no strings attached.  It's hard to say until you've experienced a Give Camp.  The uncertain coming together on Friday night, not knowing what to expect...the gradual understanding of the project and your teammates...the friendship that develops over silly jokes when working late into the night with no sleep, and the natural bonding that occurs from working together on a selfless project...the final push on Sunday morning to make sure that everything is ready...and the closing ceremony, complete with tears and a sense of pride. 

Columbus threw their first Columbus Give Camp last weekend, organized by Carey Payette and James Bender.  Last year, Columbus ran a Give Camp as a satellite of the Ann Arbor Give Camp (assisting Michigan-based nonprofits) and this year they held a completely independent but simultaneous event. 

ColumbusGiveCamp2009WorkingThere were 40-50 developer and designer volunteers present (plus 10-15 nonprofit representatives) throughout the weekend.  They built software and websites for 7 nonprofit organizations:


Fairy Goodmothers

Shiloh Baptist Church

Family Institute College Choir Concert Series

Volunteer Earth


Northwest Plains District Family Camp

They were able to use a variety of different technologies in the projects:

  • 2 Ruby
  • 1 PHP (combining Joomla and Wordpress and Moodle sites)
  • 4 .NET (1 DotNetNuke, 1 ASP.NET MVC, 1 WebForms, 1 regular ASP.NET)

ColumbusGiveCamp2009PostItsDespite some technical difficulties with the network on the first night, it was an amazing event!  I heard wonderful things about the space that Quick Solutions donated for the event.  They provided breakout rooms in addition to a large open space, and a fast internet connection.  In addition, they have a full kitchen and even emptied the refrigerator for the visiting developers to use.  

They certainly ate well!  Pei Wei provided hundreds of dollars of food for free, and Pot Belly Sandwiches gave a generous discount on their food order.  Discount ASP.NET provided free hosting to the nonprofit organizations.  Other generous sponsors - TechSmith, The Sophic Group, and Telerik - provided funding and giveaways for the event.  Finally, Microsoft sponsored some of the food in addition to software and book giveaways.  Brian Prince, Jeff Blankenburg, Diane Curtis, and Sam Henry from Microsoft all stopped by throughout the weekend. 

Congratulations on another amazing Give Camp!  These developers truly do make a difference. 


Pictures ColumbusGiveCamp2009Organizers

Sarah Dutkiewicz

Brian Jackett

Carey Payette


Link to other blog posts on the event:

James Bender

Kenny Drobnack

Sarah Dutkiewicz

Joel Helbling

Carey Payette

Jeremiah Peschka

Craig Stuntz