My RootsCampDC

So, I was in DC for the first time at Trinity College to attend an event called Rootscamp. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the event, basically, it’s a large scale conference based on the open space model of social networking and self organizing. There aren’t any pre-set agendas, but only a wall for everyone to advertise room sessions they would like to facilitate and people are allowed to wander in and out of sessions as they so choose. It sounds interesting doesn’t it? Well…it definitely is.

Participants ranged from the founder of Van to a plethora of Obama campaign workers. Other very interesting participants I’ve came across included members from online organizations, advocates, policy analysts, media gurus and even members of organized labor. The brain power and skill capacity that was present at RootscampDC from across the country was astounding!

Anyhow, the day began in a church, or the only room on campus that was big enough to house the close to 500 people that attended. After introductions, those who planned to initiate sessions were called to the front to announce their ideas. Ideas ranged from online organizing, a discussion on traditional volunteerism, irony in politics, Prop 8 issues, music merchandising to identify volunteers, experimentation, twitter service, etc.

Some of the sessions I attended the first day included one initiated by Progress Now on online media models, “Video”, “Rural Organizing”, “Volunteerism is Dead”,” Van..what now?”, and “News Tracker.” The topics were interesting in themselves and many great tactics and ideas emerged, but I felt that one of the very interesting aspects of the sessions were the types of individuals who were engaging in the issues. There was such a wide range of professions, expertise, personalities and ideas in the room that it really struck me that although each session was only an hour long, they presented such rare opportunities.

Although, I really felt that the socializing that took place afterward was really where the real relationship building and networking began as everyone had a good time and decompressed from the long day. As a result, Sunday seemed to be an even more significant experience into how the networks created could really work to forward the movement in a positive direction. Everyone was more familiar with each other and had started to really let go of the formal demeanors they had walked in with on the first day.

Overall, RootscampDC was one of the most enlightening, fun and encouraging experiences I’ve had so far. It’s one that I would recommend to anyone, and one that I hope will really help to reinforce the motivations we all have for being involved in the business of people and positive politics.

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