After months of planning, and three very intensive days of coding, the Dallas GiveCamp – a.k.a. We Are Microsoft Charity Challenge – is once again over. Like the WAM event before it, this’ year’s WAM event was an outstanding success. There were over 100 developers who donated their entire weekend to writing some new web applications for 20 local area charities:
The applications that were built over this weekend were truly amazing, and all of the participating charities were thrilled with the results. This time, instead of building *any* type of application, all teams were building web applications. Verio once again offered up free web hosting to the charities, and both Telligent & Telerik offered up free licenses of Graffiti (or Community Server) and SiteFinity respectively. With 3/4 of the development teams using various CMS systems, development was not only made much simpler, the teams were able to port over or create more content, add additional features, make some updates to the design, and, perhaps more importantly, get finished! All of the teams were able to get their applications to a mostly complete and usable state, although some conflict between server framework versions kept some teams from fully deploying.
All in all, the event was amazing and I really appreciate the dedicated contributions of our developers and our charities. Thanks also goes out to all the volunteers who helped out during the event. Most volunteers worked in shifts during the day, while I supervised overnight. there were a couple of people that stayed the whole time, working at any job they could, to help keep the event fun. Jay Smith and Randy Walker, from Northwest Arkansas, and Stephen Leveritt from Dallas really helped out buy running the video camera to interview all the charities and most of the sponsors. We also got some unexpected help from some of the charities, and a couple of Web Designers that happened to be in the building when we started to set up. Their participation - although unexpected - was much appreciated by everyone, and many of the teams benefitted greatly from their prodigious skills.
It took a lot of people to make this event a success, but the person I want to thank the most is the organizer of the event, Toi Wright. Toi poured her heart and soul into this event two years in a row, and did an incredible job. Leading the planning efforts starting in August of last year, Toi once again put together a terrific event and will forever have my thanks, appreciation and admiration for her dedication to the event and to the greater Dallas community. Next year will see the We Are Microsoft event under some new leadership as Toi transitions to a new leadership team. I’ve already talked with several people who are interested in helping to organize the event for next year and I’m super excited about our ability to help more charities and non-profits.