Back to back events this month and I’ve got another great report for you.
The Kansas City .NET User Group held its 2nd annual Coders 4 Charities event this past weekend. The volunteer driven event paired teams of web developers, designers and analysts with representatives from local charities to receive "extreme makeovers" of web sites or full online applications for their use in just 48 hours. In total there were 8 local Kansas City charities seeking assistance and 35 volunteers from the KC metropolitan area who participated. The charities involved spanned a wide range of concerns from church ministries to crime prevention to job clubs.
The event kicked off on Friday, April 24th with a dinner and introductions between the charities and volunteers. The first evening was spent reviewing existing applications and requirements and choosing strategies and technologies for the makeovers with the doors closing at 10:30 pm. The doors opened again on Saturday at 7:00 am and teams eagerly attacked their charity projects until well into the night with the doors closing once more at 10:30 pm. Sunday was crunch time with all the teams hammering out their final features as the 5:00 pm deadline approached. At the conclusion, each team was given 15 minutes to present their solution to the group and receive their well deserved applause for their efforts.
Incredible teamwork and cooperation. Teams came together very quickly and delivered under pressure. The level of professionalism and dedication to the projects was inspiring. There was a Rock Band room set up for blowing off steam but, by and large, it was quiet most of the weekend. There simply wasn’t time to relax when the stakes were so high for the charities. I was extremely proud of everyone who participated. It was an event like no other I’ve attended this year.
Great 2nd year effort. With 8 charities and 35 volunteers, there was excellent growth from the inaugural event last year (5 charities, 25 volunteers). It’s expected that at least 7 of the 8 projects will go live within the next few weeks.
More designers added to the mix. Last year’s teams struggled due to the lack of design skills so this year there was a concerted effort to recruit more designers. This helped balance the workload among teams and the end results were substantially more usable and complete than last year. Developer art is NEVER pretty and CSS does not come naturally to most C# and VB developers.
Fantastic facilities. Centriq Training Center of Kansas City provided first class facilities. Each team was given their own training room complete with whiteboards and plenty of room to spread out and get to work. Sponsors came through big time with fully catered meals and there was ample food for everyone throughout the weekend.
This was an incredibly successful event by all measures and I want to especially call out Doug Butscher, Lee Brandt, and Jeff Julian for organizing and leading this great effort.
More photos can be seen on the C4C flickr stream: http://www.flickr.com/groups/coders4charities/