My Day at Geek Girl Boot Camp

March 22, 2011 | By | Comments (0)

IMG_2123As I wrote recently, in a fit of irrational exuberance, I volunteered to participate in Geek Girl Boot Camp, a day-long un-conference dedicated to "empowering women through technology."

After which I immediately started to regret my decision.

Due to a mix of work obligations, parenting-related issues, and health setbacks I was feeling time crunched and stressed out, and wishing I had thought twice before volunteering to spend the day away from my family.

I was also incredibly nervous about teaching (my subjects were  "ABCs of Blogs" and "Audio Podcasting 101"). After 6 years of doing both, I was obviously familiar with the topics, but that didn't necessarily qualify me to teach anything to anyone. (In fact, even though I pulled together what I thought was a reasonable facsimile of a presentation plan, it wasn't until after my first class of the day that I started to feel comfortable in my role as a Geek Girl instructor.)

The day of Geek Girl Boot Camp started too early, with my neighbor (a Geek Girl wanna' be) and I hitting the road at 5:15am, arriving at Cape Cod Community College at 7:00 am. After receiving my uniform – a pink button down shirt and fleece vest with "Geek Girl #24" (meaning the 24th girl to volunteer) – I started to settle down and take in what turned into an amazing day of women helping women embrace technology.

IMG_2134Attending were over 500 women of different ages, professional backgrounds, and technological experience. Topics covered computer basics; business tools; photography; web development; design and social media. Throughout the day, attendees swarmed the campus, coming and going from the various classes, meeting other women, or spending time at the Help Desk for one-on-one consultations.

By the end of the day, I was exhausted (I had presented on both topics twice) but also exhilarated. I made it through my presentations without anyone booing or throwing anything, connected with a community of women interested in technology, and felt like I had been able to make a contribution to that community.

Even though I didn't have a chance to attend any sessions, I picked up a few tips about video hosting options from videographer Alecia Jean Orsini Lebada, and was inspired by photographer Maura Longueil to give Google's Picasa a try (I see a future post on that discovery).

I can only imagine the time and effort put in by the organizers of Geek Girl Camp, and I was awed by what I witnessed on Saturday. The classes appeared to go smoothly, with each room at Cape Cod Community College having projectors and sound systems for presenters to use (I had to set up 3 times and each went smoothly). There was also an impressive team of volunteers keeping things moving.

If you are in the Massachusetts-area and able to attend a Geek Girl Boot Camp (in past years they've been held on Cape Cod and in the Plymouth-area), I would certainly encourage you to do so. And even if you aren't, you can find a wealth of information, including an Online Help Desk, for any Geek Girl or Geek Girl Wanna' Be.

As for me? Obviously I have no regrets about volunteering. And now, I can only hope they will invite me again.