Sunday, October 21, 2012


I really enjoyed Southwest Ohio GiveCamp this year. There are lots of community events where I learn stuff and have fun, but it's especially nice when we can also look back on something good done for a good cause.

I was on a small team that redid URS Dayton's website into a WordPress site. (The new version isn't online yet, so don't go clicking today and saying, "Ew, you're proud of that?") I'll say this for WordPress: despite having no genuinely experienced WordPress users on the team, we made a very presentable site in just an evening and a day. There was even enough time left last night for me to jump into another project for an hour - and being able to contribute a little bit within an hour of jumping into an unknown project says something about just how easy GitHub makes collaboration.

It's interesting: nothing stops any of us from volunteering for any of those nonprofits anytime, but something about gathering for an intense push generates enthusiasm and momentum in a way that scattered efforts rarely do. I guess that's why conference sprints exist, too. This being Sunday, it occurs to me that most churches have pitiable websites; I wonder if churchgoing geeks could do a gathering to fix some of those up. Call it a "Sprint to Emmaus" or something.

Anyway, the broadening is nice and all, but someday I'd like to be on a Pythonista team at GiveCamp. I think it would need to be preceded by an effort to convince a requesting nonprofit to ask for a Python-based project. Nonprofits always come to SWOGC requesting a specific technology, almost always something from the PHP or Microsoft universes, simply because that's what they know about. Hmm, I wonder if it would be unethical to say, "For your project, we've used a special cutting-edge version of WordPress called 'Django'..."

A great weekend. Thanks to Andrew Douglas, my team leader, and to the GiveCamp organizers!


Mamma Sarah said...

Thank you for being part of an amazing weekend. The hard part of nonprofit life is not having experts (like you) to help us think outside the box before we submit our proposals. Maybe I will throw that out there as a suggestion.

Chase said...

As I was there this weekend (Bethany House team), it occurred to me that I should have prodded my own church to sign up for GiveCamp. I built a site for them about 5 years ago in Django, and have been half-heartedly promising them a new look and functionality for about a year now. I'm getting kind of rusty on Django now because my day jobs have involved WordPress or Drupal. If there is the corpus of Pythonistas in the Dayton area, this would be at least one project for a mini-sprint. I can be reached @ckcathcart or the same handle on Gmail.