I’ve decided to wind up ChangeCamp in its current form after Spring ChangeCamp 2020 (14th March 2020).
Although the day is a lot of fun and I get lots of good feedback from attendees it’s getting increasingly difficult to make it work because:
1. It’s a lot of work setting up the event
There is a lot of admin effort in running ChangeCamp including: getting presenters for each event, writing up presentations and creating presenter pages, maintaing the website, writing and sending out ChangeCamp Couriers as the events get closer, hiring the venue and a whole load of other stuff. I’ve worked out that it takes about 100 hours of my time, each time, to run a ChangeCamp.
When I take into account how much I make out of a ChangeCamp it works out that I work those 100 hours at less than half minimum wage!
2. It’s a lot of work on the day
Almost everything that gets used on the day has to be brought in and set up on the day.
- The dining room has to be reconstructed – tables shifted, urns set up and supplied. (I usually have a lot of help for this part of the day for which I’m eternally grateful)
- The classrooms have to be deconstructed – tables lifted, stacked and chairs rearranged.
- Everything has to be kept ticking along during the day.
- At the end of the day (usually while everyone is in the last session) I deconstruct the dining room, stacking the tables and deconstructing the urns, tables, etc.
- Then I have to reconstruct the classrooms (normally I don’t get much help for this). At the last ChangeCamp I had to un-stack and replace about 80 school tables by myself.
Even though a few kind attendees help me with all this it is a lot of work. I’m 60 years old (How did that happen!) and I can’t see myself being physically able to do this indefinitely.
3. The numbers are going down
The third reason is the most important. Over the past few years the number of attendees has been dropping. From a high point of 90, a couple of years ago, the numbers have fallen to the high 60’s .
I envisage ChangeCamp as a kind of pop-up village that needs between 70-90 attendees to work well. More than 90 people would be unwieldy and overcrowded, less than 70 and it begins to feel sparse and under attended.
Over the last couple of years it’s been taking more and more effort to get people to attend – more time, more emails, more persuasion. At the rate the numbers are going I might have to resort to press-ganging to get enough people – I don’t want to go down that route.
So for those reasons, and following the old theatre maxim ‘always leave them wanting more, the Spring ChangeCamp 2020 will be the last in its current format.
I don’t want to hand ChangeCamp over to anyone else, it’s been my baby all along and I feel protective of it and the way it has been run up to now. I’ve put a lot into the brand and I don’t want to give up that hard work.
I do think it might be possible to keep some of the features of ChangeCamp and turn it into something that lives up to its values and is more workable.
I’ve tried to make ChangeCamp:
- interesting – the content is interesting, varied and valuable to the participants even if it’s only a small taste of what’s possible.
- low risk – participants can try out presenters and ideas without having to pay out or commit to a full-blown and expensive training.
- affordable – almost anybody can afford to attend.
- communal / friendly – it’s a supportive and warm environment that participants can contribute to – this is one of the motivations behind the picnic lunch.
I want to create something that upholds those values but makes it easier.
That’s all in the future when I work it out the details I’ll let everyone know.
In the meantime there will be Spring ChangeCamp 2020 in March 2020, which I will start working on soon.