Notes from the first #VanChangeCamp meeting

These are the notes of the first Vancouver ChangeCamp organizational meeting. During the meeting, we tried to incorporate the feedback from people who submitted comments on my previous blog post and who wrote to the Google Groups for Vancouver ChangeCamp.

I’ll be creating a PBWiki and will insert all of this information there too.

Vancouver ChangeCamp Organizational Meeting
January 26th, 2009

Joe Solomon (engagejoe) social media strategist – citizen-based engagement
Raul Pacheco (hummingbird604) environmental policy wonk/consultant – citizen participation
Paul Czene (pcz) youth worker with Van Park Board – engaging youth into participating
Heath Johns (urbantastic) micro-volunteering site – small chunks – social media amongst volunteering people
Beth Breines (bella_b) writer/editor/MBA Bainbridge
Justin Johnson – learned through Steve and ThinkCity
Ben Johnson (urbantastic) – micro-volunteering

What is a Camp
- An un-conference – no schedule – everyone arrives, describe the topics of what we’re going to do
- Open source organization
- Emerges from the BarCamp thingie

ChangeCamp, GreenCamp, GovCamp?
A discussion seems to emerge on whether we should focus on government or on sustainability. There are two or three tracks sort of emerging – government / sustainability / third sector? (although there is concern that it might be dangerous to categorize in this way) – the government doesn’t want to get compartmentalized – what are the ideas from outside – we know the hoops that people need to jump through. The feeling seems that the camp should be more “umbrella” – we are sort of starting square one – it’s an empty box and we can’t put an empty box and we can’t put anything already because we’re opening it.

We need still a bit of a focus – while you want diversity you want it specific enough that there is an audience. Invite people in a non-official capacity so that they don’t have to feel as though they’ll be held to anything.
Citizen-participation is a good umbrella term – to foster citizen-engagement. Government people should be able to join in without worrying about what they say.

Date of the Camp

Think about dates and the provincial election. – we decided on March 28th, 2009

Focus and directions of the Change Camp
Are we going to run into the problem of having too tight boundaries? How wide a focus? How narrow a focus?

Format of the Camp

Some people would like to have the Camp in the same format as “Marketers for a Change” at BarCamp — You got problems – we can crowd-source the problems. NetImpact – at the end of the night you basically solve a problem. There is another suggestion – that we do half and half. Two days sounds like a good idea. Theory in the morning / applications (solutions to problems) in the afternoon – maybe do two days — Most people want “concrete” but you also keep space for the more abstract. We’ve been talking government, we’ve been talking sustainability – ok, those are there, but there will be space for a new track.
Groundswell –
Part I (conference) – Part II (unconference)

Relationship w/government
Come in with some resources/plan on hand, they’re going to jump on the bandwagon. “here is what we can do and what we need?”
What’s the risk? Are we setting a new precedent? (for the government) – squeaky wheel works in Vancouver.

Two problems
1.- How do we structure the unconference?
2.- How do we market the unconference?

Theme – tools for change – you can come to a participatory event where you walk to wherever you want that change to happen

Citizen engagement

Keep it unconference but make the marketing as “we are going to talk about sustainability AND other topics”

One person – one keynote – this is what the solution is going to look like – to avoid separating sustainability – you could say “this room is themed sustainability” or “this room is themed poverty”…

Choose your change – open platform – if you created an environment where the audience could show up and that audience design the event that is the unconference we are trying to represent those ideas its sort of an empowering tool that we are going to have a change camp and the people decide – how best we can facilitate that – wouldn’t it be in our best interest that the audience has the power to decide what gets changed – “I’m hosting a discussion ion poverty “ how can we best facilitate it in such a way that we empower the people to choose what changes they want to make.

Maybe just divide session by session – know information or collaborate – it’s a good mix (knowledge-sharing or action)
If you’re going to pitch a session it is a “learning session” or a “doing session”
1997 book – Open Space Technology – A User’s Guide
We kind of explored tracks.

Results from the meeting – agreement on two points

Choose Your Change – whether we go with the tracks or not, you’re still making a choice

I want to explore what “choose your change looks like” – and what does “learning and doing” look like
Want to change but not necessarily know how to effect the change.
It allows people to be complete amateurs and STILL engaging. The big challenge is that there is a lot of people who want to contribute but it’s all jargon, all acronyms. Opening this up beyond “the usual suspects”
A lot of people want to sit back and digest – a two-tiered process. You can allow the introverts to still participate in the discussions – quietly contribute – they don’t necessarily want to be upfront.

With regards to t-shirts

You could have an “iron your own t-shirt” – transfer thingie – b/c environmental concerns

Related posts:

  1. Open Internet Town Hall – Digital Strategy for Canada #VanChangeCamp (liveblog)
  2. David Hume on BC as Citizen Engagement Lab: Designing Citizen Engagement with the Province of BC – #VanChangeCamp
  3. My upcoming (to-be-pitched) talk at @VanChangeCamp
  4. VanChangeCamp – June 20th, 2009
  5. Vancouver ChangeCamp (VanChangeCamp) placeholder and idea bouncer

Comments (1)

Dave MacdonaldJanuary 27th, 2009 at 10:10 am

This is a fantastic movement. I am refining my program at WPCG, to embody a similar mission except that we won’t be getting involved in government work. We won’t ever be the squeaky wheel, but we’ll be doing good work in both sustainability and community. Looking forward to tying this into the #VanChangeCamp however I can and meeting up next time.

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