How to run a Housing Camp (or at least, how we did…). Part Two.

Facilitating.  You might be a confident facilitator yourself and be happy to take on the role yourself.  If you’re going the DIY route, I reckon a whistle is a must have for calling everyone to order.  It seems that campers are bit more animated and (happily) noisy than corporate suits.  Or you might want to get in touch with the lovely Lloyd Davis (other facilitators are available).  I’m quite at home with being a facilitator (in fact never more at home than with sharpies and post-it notes in hand), but figured that it’s a tall order to be an organiser and a facilitator all at the same time.  So we asked for some help on that front.

Catering.  If you’ve got plenty of budget, then call a catering company and they’ll deliver whatever you want.  If you’ve no budget, ask folks to bring a packed lunch – I’m sure they will.  We had a modest budget, so we did online ordering for a good range of supplies from the supermarket.  Self service worked fine – we just laid the tables out to try and give lots of “surface area access” (I’m sure there’s a more technical term) – basically trying to avoid bottle necks.  And some strategically placed recycling bins meant folks mostly cleared up after themselves too. (Jon’s note: Tesco are one of the few supermarkets who delivery their lunch to go range. Order only 2 or 3 of each sandwich though otherwise you’ll end up in substitution hell.)

Signage.  We’re familiar with our office building, but we needed to make it easy for those that aren’t.  So Jon knocked up some signage to take folks from the front door, through the corridors and into the space we were using.  We had some good debate on the correct placement of apostrophes too.

Image clipped from the Housing Camp filmName Badges.  A much under-used resource. Make ‘em big enough to see, and work out what else you can put on them.  Wifi login details maybe?  If you’re going to punch holes in heavy-weight paper or card (as we did) to put them on a lanyard… stick sellotape round the bit you’re going to hole-punch to stop them ripping.  We only realised this when they started ripping.  Oh well, not a major tragedy, and it was interesting to see some the impromptu hacks to solve the problem (some involved paperclips?). (Jon’s note: Big thanks to Laura for requisitioning Payments’ hole puncher and opening a badge punching desk at reception over lunch.)

postitsThe Grid.  Unless you’re a school teacher and can right big neat letters quickly, prepare this in advance.  I had a bit of a rush doing this on the morning.  And make it big enough to get post-it notes on.   We went for two sessions in the morning, a lunch break and two in the afternoon, then a short wrap up.  The lovely James Cattell also knocked up a google docs version of the grid, so folks could access it online.

Organising Stuff & Asking For Help.  We made a big list of jobs that needed doing, asked folks if they’d be up for helping.  And they were.  And that was pretty much it.  All the members of #TeamHousingCamp simply took something on the list and made it happen.  The biggest hurdle to get over was the one where you realise you don’t have to be herculean and do it all yourself.

Co-ordinating on the Day.  The talented Mr Foster set up #TeamHousingCamp with a riot-organisers best friend – a group messaging app.  Clearly I’m not a teenager and the beauty of BBM had passed me by, so this was all new.  We used GroupMe and it rocks.  We used for everything from “I need a hand putting out lunch” through to “can the coffee machine monitor come help un-bung the coffee grinds”.

Pub.  We made arrangements with the local pub – in Twickenham it’s a must – if the rugby crowd are in town you don’t have a chance of getting anywhere near the bar!   They were happy to run a tab at the bar to the limit we set, and our #housingcamp name badges were used so they could tell who to let order on the tab. (Said tab was kindly sponsored by Learning Pool. THANKS!)

Its really not too onerous.  Go on, you know you want to…:)

Part three, “on the day itself” next week,

6 thoughts on “How to run a Housing Camp (or at least, how we did…). Part Two.

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