Sunday, June 24, 2012

Give Camp Memphis


As promised, I've spent the weekend with the good folks of Give Camp Memphis. We've been holed up in the Emerge Memphis building downtown since 5:00 on Friday. The bravest among us (not me) are even sleeping here -- hence the "camp" in Give Camp.

Give Camp is a national initiative that has been popping up in an increasing number of cities. This weekend marks Memphis's second event. The group's slogan is "Coding for Charity," and that pretty much sums it up. Give Camp recruits volunteer tech professionals ("from designers, developers and database administrators to marketers and web strategists") as well as nonprofits in need of technical help, then puts them all in the same place, divides them into project teams, and gives them one solid weekend to complete a tech project.

Most of the projects at this year's Memphis event involve constructing websites, and Chatterbox's is no exception. As I wrote last week, we requested help building an online home for our ongoing Spoon River Anthology project. As of this writing, we're three hours away from the end of the event. The prototype site is shaping up, and though it won't be ready to share for a while (I still have lots of work to do on the content), it will be fully functional and will serve as a fantastic interface for the fantastic poems we're recording.

We pulled an incredible team in Sarah, Matt, George, Jeff, and Jason. Frankly, I'm amazed at all the professionals who turned out to volunteer their time and talent in exchange for nothing more than a thank-you and some (admittedly excellent) food. For my part, all I've really had to do is be around, answering the occasional question, tossing out the occasional idea, and providing the occasional file. Not a bad trade-off at all.

If you're a small nonprofit in a city where Give Camp has a presence, I highly recommend submitting an application. And if you're a technology professional with a penchant for charitable work, I'm sure they'd be thrilled to hear from you.

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