Video: How I First Learned About Unconferences from CareerCamp: New Unconference Career Building Methods

A clip from this longer presentation – CareerCamp: New Unconference Methods for Helping People Build the Career They Deserve with Douglas E. Welch

CareerCamp Founder, Douglas E. Welch, shares CareerCamp with the attendees of the California Placement Association at their annual 2015 conference in San Luis Obispo.

He discusses What is CareerCamp?, how it might be used in your organization and takes you through an example of a Day at CareerCamp.

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I was actually introduced to unconferences through a series of unconferences called BarCamps. And these are much more free-wheeling. Usually organized around technical issues, but I’ve seen presentations on the History of the Pixel in Art. I’ve seen a scotch tasting — actually participated in a scotch tasting. I have seen makers show off robots they’ve built and a whole variety of other things. So, there’s a variety of methods that you can use from BarCamp and I saw BarCamp work. That was the most important thing for me. I went to about 5 or 5 BarCamps in the LA Area — they’re held all over the world — and I saw how it works. Because, the first time you do it, you can be really skeptical. How can this possibly work come together? Now, maybe it’s my theater background, there’s a thing in theater when, about 3 weeks before the show is ready to open, it just falls apart completely and everyone’s walking around going, “This show can never go up, because it just isn’t going to work.” And then, it all comes together. Unconferences have much the same feel about them. You’re like, “There’s no way this can work.” And yet, when you put the success of a conference in the hands of the people coming, it works. We;ve really found out — over the 10 that we have done and the 6 or 7 iI have been involved with in other ways — It’s quite amazing how well it comes together.

What is CareerCamp and Career Camp International?

CareerCamp is a community organized, career-focused, unconference which calls upon local communities and people to share their knowledge, expertise and other important information on developing yourself and your career.

What is an unconference?

Unconferences are self-organizing conferences, similar to many professional conferences, but instead of hiring well-known, professional speakers, they call on the attendees themselves to provide the content and focus for the event. Every person who attends is highly encouraged to present on some topic deeply important to them or, barring that, to facilitate an open breakout session or round table discussion or even just to engage and converse with their fellow attendees between presentations. A few organizers band together to find a venue for the event, recruit sponsors and invite attendees, but the focus of the unconference is driven solely by the attendees.

Some might question the usefulness of presentations by their peers, but we have found that there is an enormous amount of real-world expertise available in each and every local community. CareerCamp utilizes a format that draws out that expertise and benefits everyone. CareerCamp (and other unconferences) provide a structure and an opportunity to share this expertise in ways that traditional conferences do not. Additionally, CareerCamps also attract career development professionals who can use CareerCamp as a way of introducing themselves to a new audience of potential clients.

How was CareerCamp developed?

The genesis of CareerCamp was found by attending BarCamp unconferences held around the world. CareerCamp founder, Douglas E. Welch, was a long time attendee of BarCamp, which is an event that embraces any topic, although it often leans toward technology. After seeing the success of BarCamp as a way to illuminate and educate within a community, Welch applied the unconference concept to the specific world of Career Development.

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