This is the first of a series of updates we’ll be sending out leading up to the big event on June 11th. If you have signed up for GiveCamp, you should have received this same note at the e-mail address you specified when registering. If you did not please contact us at negc2010@hotmail.com, as soon as possible so we can ensure your status.

New England GiveCamp is about two weeks away now, and many of you may be wondering: ‘what’s next’, ‘what project am I working on’, ‘where do I park’, etc.

Well, this is the first of what will likely be several updates over the next two weeks. This one’s a bit long, but will hopefully answer some of the questions you may have. If not, you can email negc2010@hotmail.com at anytime and we’ll respond, generally within an hour or two.

Some of you may have noticed a list of non-profits posted on the http://newenglandgivecamp.org site, and that’s just a subset of the groups you will be helping. About a half-dozen volunteers have been working directly with representatives of over 30 non-profits to hone scope and requirements to ensure that each organization’s project is really viable for the short timeframe at GiveCamp. That process is finishing up now, and those volunteers are meeting next Tuesday to finalize the list and start matching volunteers to the actual projects. We expect there to be about two dozen projects, and are absolutely looking for more volunteers – please spread the word and have folks visit http://newenglandgivecamp.eventbrite.com to sign on.

Toward the end of next week, those of you that have volunteered in a technical capacity should be informed of the charity you will be helping, and your volunteer development team leader should be in contact shortly thereafter to schedule a pre-GiveCamp call (or meeting) with the project team and the non-profit representative. We’re hoping that through this call, people will have a clearer idea of what they’ll be doing at GiveCamp, better understand the non-profit’s mission, and be poised to hit the ground running on the actual development project when they arrive at GiveCamp.

If you have volunteered in a non-technical capacity, there’s not a lot you need to do other than show up at the times you mentioned you could be available. A number of you volunteered for helping setup and even getting together the night before. We definitely will need some setup help, but what and when are still being ironed out, so you should hear from us a few days before on that topic.

In terms of on-site logistics, as you know you are welcome to spend the night at the NERD Center. It’s not the Ritz and the floors are hard, but there are showers on site, and you’re welcome to bring an air mattress, pad, or small cot. All meals will be provided, and Green Mountain Coffee will be there 7×24 to keep everyone well-caffeinated!

For those of you desiring more refined sleeping conditions, the Boston Marriott Cambridge in Kendall Square and the Hyatt Regency-Cambridge are extending the Microsoft rate to attendees of GiveCamp. The Marriott is about a block from the NERD Center and the Hyatt about 2.3 miles away down Memorial Drive. If you are interested in either of these options, please contact the hotel directly and be sure to request the Microsoft rate for New England GiveCamp.

Boston Marriott Cambridge – 617-494-6600 – room rate $220 + tax, includes Internet, self-parking is about $25 per day
Hyatt Regency-Cambridge – (617) 441-6529 or e-mail juzar.shakir@hyatt.com – room rate $139 + tax, includes Internet and reduced parking rate of $21 per day

For those needing to park, as you know free space is at a premium in Cambridge, although less of a challenge on a weekend. The NERD Center does have a parking garage and there is also a 24-hour garage in Kendall Square about 2 or 3 blocks away. We are still working with the garage owners to secure a reduced rate on parking, so hope to have more details (and good news) on that next week.

This is shaping up to be a great event and the spectrum of charities being helped is really amazing. The fact you are all giving up a weekend of your time (in one of the nicest times of the year in New England) is a great testament to the technical community in this area.

Again, please e-mail us at negc2010@hotmail.com with any questions or concerns you may have and especially if your plans have changed and you can no longer commit to the event.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend, and rest up – you’ll need it come June 11th!!

Regards,
The New England GiveCamp Organizational Committee