I stopped by the Agile Summer Camp near Brighton, MI yesterday.
The purpose of the event was to gather together people from the software community in an isolated environment to discuss the issues of agile development. The event was held at a campground in order to isolate people from the distractions of e-mail, web and home responsibilities. Discussions were held in an "open spaces" style, meaning participants sat in a circle, were given a starting topic, and were free to take the discussion to any point it logically evolved.
I can't evaluate the success of the open spaces as I was only there for a couple hours and my visit coincided with the dinner break, but those I talked to all gave me positive feedback about the day they had spent at the camp so far. There was no open space discussion scheduled during dinner, but there were still many conversations about agile methodologies, software development, and all the things these folks have in common.
Most camp participants stayed from Friday evening until Sunday morning and slept in log cabins without electricity or plumbing. Family obligations prevented me from spending the weekend, but I wanted to stop by because I heard there would be a lot of bright, passionate people in attendance. There were. Despite surviving the first 24 hours of primitive conditions, the group still radiated a lot of energy.
I applaud this event, not only because those who participated seem to have got a great deal out of it; but because it is one more example of people in the community creating something that will enhance others in the community. This spirit of cooperation, support and fellowship is one of the reasons I enjoy doing what I do.
Note: Click here to view photos of the 2008 Agile Summer Camp.