Location: Places >> Europe >> Hungary >> Budapest >> Budapest Wintercamp 2009/10 - BPWC
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Self assesment of the organisation team of BPWC
Posted January 6th, 2010 - 11:39 pm by from Budapest, Hungary (Permalink)
Dear Campers,
as spokesman of our organization team, let me disclose some of the background concepts of the BPWC, some reviews of the events from our side and some reflections of the positive criticism we have received that could help a lot of the future organizations of such event.
The Camp..
We wanted to create a REAL camp where a community could be built, so we decided not to accept one night requests etc.
All the events were meant to serve this community, and give access to those who wanted to share the experience of the campers, even the participation fee was calculated that the non campers would contribute to the rental of the HANGAR and to the organizational costs of the joint events.

This was philosophy of the BPWC and if others will organize an other camp somewhere they can do it different. We wish not to discuss this any more as past and irreversible ..

Now a few remarks about the events from the organizers point of view:
Palace of Art / Opera visits were ok, some people sneaked in without paying at the Opera and we - as CS community - got bad remarks so will not do it again.
Haka - a bit of team building in one of the most historic locations of our country. was a short and nice event

Market Hall.
The Budapest CS community meets every Tuesday for a simple one plate meal at Epiteszpince, so the idea was to find an unusual location, we could pay security to keep the place open, and created a simple one plate meal with non port and vegy option.
160 people registered and like 240 came. This was the first shocking moment for us that campers and non-campers may show up on a much unexpected number although we asked all the participants to pre-register for all the sub meetings they'd like to attend.
We were calculating about 200 people with seats etc, and meals were like 230 so the hungry ones could take 2 or even 3 portions...
so first lesson to learn more people come then expected.
Pub Crawling
57 signed up 280 came.. logistic flop.. Although the whole Budapest community developed a google map loaded with recommended places which was communicated on BPWC's site. Unfortunately less campers check it before they left home as expected.
Fortunately CSer are well traveled people to find their ways around.
Bath - and other discounts.
after the first visits the bath administration found out that their cashiers may cheat with the bracelets so started to remove these, from the campers so we were distributing more at the CAMP and at the Base.
/we were afraid having low number of showers at the camp so the idea of bathes came to motivate people to have their major cleaning off site, we think this worked/
Skating - very small interest so the management was not giving us the volume discount we expected, those who went enjoyed it after all
EU Ambassador - those who came liked it.
Latin dance workshops -- this is is a fashion trend so no real Hungarian input but gave in and did it with a good feedback
Goulash & Mulled wine
Goulash is a beef meal full-stop. This and mulled wine were provided outside for logistics reasons a lot left over, we should have communicated better this option. But we have provided a cottage cheese topping with bread at the Hungarian desk.
International night
the concept worked, was a blast, voted the best event of the Camp. many non campers came so it worked.
Free hugs
good location nice volunteers a great classic
Citadel New Year event
We have been searching for weeks and weeks a downtown location that could hold 700 people and would be special for the local CS community.. they all can go to a local disco every weekend we were hunting for something special. Every pre-selected location wanted a minimum consumption of 50 euros per person!
Otherwise the employees would not show up for work. they would party themselves.
The Citadel was closed for many years, we could convince the operator to finish renovations in time and open up the place exclusive for us.
It has a magnificent view of the bridges, even if cold outside people can watch outside the fireworks of the city.- then the absolutely unexpected fog fell on the city
It had bus connection until 11pm and from the hill foot all the night-bus network of the city was available. We had some negotiations with the public transport company to extend the service for us but since they are a limited company they have no founds to help a non-profit event for free. On the other side we had no budget to finance the extended service.
We wanted a simplified menu with the backup of the restaurant that had a full list of alcoholic beverages including sparkling wine. etc.

Music: We had a celebrity DJ from San Francisco and some locals, they did not really catch the taste of the crowd. this could be done with better pre selection next time
Missing countdown.. we could not connect the two levels properly .. has to be done better next year.

City walks were OK went as planned more or less, here we had few problems like lack of microphone. This is also a Hungarian specialty that no-one is allowed to guide in the city without a license. Organizers took the risk to do illegal tours but in order not to draw to much attention we had to do it without a mike. We thought the direction were well communicated it turned out they were not. Again something to remember for those who are planning to organize a camp.

War Games of Numbers : total mis-communication about the proper meeting point... fortunately was low interest as people got tired after the parties.
Memento Park
The person in charge escorting the group overslept, it was a trouble shooting action afterwords but seem to work
140 came again totally unexpected numbers.. went well after all
was Ok, those who went to Cinetrip enjoyed it 100% - it was expensive so did not want to put it in the package but we helped those who were interested to buy a ticket to the party.
Lazer Tag - late arrivals, no shows but OK
Farewell Party. (location) We wanted to give a chance to campers, non-campers, and locals to say goodbye to each other so the concept was that the party should happen somewhere in town. Again the same problem what we had with Citadel a minimum consumption were expected in most of the places so the short list was as short as the first one. (for the Budapest community and the non Campers), Still, night transport was provided, people could sit together and we provided 2 kinds of music on two floors.
We think it was a hit.
T shirt.. the concept was that we just get a cheaper one as T shirts with dates are not worn often, and in the winter people wear a shirt over it usually so the sponsored CS canoe event could be promoted there.

Flyer - we have had a few changes that was not communicated well, a lesson to learn to spend more time and concentration as those who had no contacts with the hospitality desks at Base and Camp could not use it properly.
Phone numbers were missing from here to ask for directions, though numbers were published on the website.
We missed a central Bulletin board or newsletter about the daily changes.
We wanted to help those who are lack of orientation skills with city maps and guides, google maps but still we had to face problems in this field. Again a lesson to learn.
we were not as many as we thought we would be, we lacked manpower but those who were there did a 110-120% performance, literary day and night.
We shall publish their names as they all deserve appreciation.

Targeted satisfaction 95% I think we got like 85-90
we made a break even we think unless we get an unexpected invoices, but a balance sheet will be published as soon as we get the final invoice for the mattresses as many were destroyed etc.
We enjoyed it but will not do it again soon..
Happy New Year to all!! and see you on other events!!

Posted January 7th, 2010 - 12:53 am by from London, England (Permalink)
Let me give you some nice words and criticism here:

Palace of Arts:
according to me wasn't as special but different opinions.

Opera visit
was wonderful - really nice with tour guide.

Haka - misunderstanding, it took only 30 minutes not 1,5 as was written so we got at the end hehehe... not nice at all but ok.

Market Hall
Prepared in really professional way. Really nice event.

Pub crawling
I think guides didn't care about people just going, not good , no waiting a little bit or giving any information about changing place.

Really nice idea too, really interesting and worth of money.I noticed sellers were taking bracelets but we didn't need more cause we were almost on the last day.

Dance workshops
Very very very nice :)

Goulash and wine
Also veeery nice, but as to organizational purposes it went into a conflict with international night. but really nice

International night

Citadel nye.
Personally i was surprised. Place ok, but was expecting something more. Not just typical disco party. I understand organizers wanted something special, but think in that conditions nye in the camp would be even better. No champagne. Of course i understand fog destroyed a lot. But no champagne! :P

City walks ok.

Memento Park
I didnt like hours of time to get there and out of there, less to see, and destroying shoes in the mud.

I didn't like also the attitude of someone who was leading labyrinth visit. Nervous situation doesn't mean nervous behaviour for the people. Bad attitude.

But generally I have to say good words to organizers who always were willing to help in any situation,call back etc working hard during our partying, trying to keep everything in one piece and for sure they put a big efforts it that. :)

the thing to improve information about night buses or help with ordering taxi. (I hated our 2,3 hours going back home at foot sometimes:P)
So generally it was ok.

The thing i really liked, organizers were waiting for laters. Sometimes it was really hard to get to the place.

Big Thank you :))) It was really nice time :)

Posted January 7th, 2010 - 12:15 pm by from The Hague, Netherlands (Permalink)
here some words from 2 non-campers:

We really liked all the stuff we did, ate and drank that was included in the package! I mean for 40 euro's we had a chance of doing a lot of different things or get discount for things, a nice goulash dinner, another goulash and mulled wine etc...We didn't do a lot of things but were there for NYE party. We loved that party! It was just awesome and we also loved the music! Tho I did hear from a friend she'd liked it if there was more normal eighties dance music as well...

I didn't know but find it totally understandable that we paid contribution to the hangar as well...we were there using wireless internet and for the parties and international night so yeah, it's reasonable in my opinion!

I didn't really like the tshirt very much tho...it's funny how you say tshirts with dates aren't worn very often, but I would've liked that very much since it's a good reminder :-) I would've liked if there were girly tshirts for the girls, but I understand that sometimes these are more expensive and it's a lot of organizing to have two types of shirts...

Oh I also wanted to say: everybody who helped was really helpfull and gave us good information about the city (yes, parking was free ;-)) and where to go... Thje wintercamp was a very good reason for us to visit BP (again) and it gave us something really cool to do for NYE!

all in all we didn't really join a lot of events but we were very happy to be at the ones we were at!! Thanks a lot BPWC organizers!

Posted January 7th, 2010 - 1:22 pm by from Bangkok, Thailand (Permalink)
Other 2 words from another non-camper.

First of all anyway i want to thank all the organizers for the incredible job to make this camp possible.

I mostly agree with Andras about many of the things he listed,except the visit at the memento park that in my opinion was a complete failure!The were 2 groups of people going,those who were on time and those who were late (that actually met just accidentally when the first group was leaving and the 2nd arring at the park)...and both without a guide!And Memento park without a guide isn't very easy to understand.
In my opinion also a visit to the house of terror would have been interesting,to complete what we started at memento...but it wasn't in the program,and we had to go there by ourselves.

I don't know if it was my fault but the bracelets didn't work for me at the bath!maybe because i went there out of the scheduled time,but they didn't give me any discount...anyway the bath was great so it was worth every single forint i paid for it.

The only thing that in my opinion really really didn't work at all was the double location of the camp and the base!I'm sorry to say that i had the impression that those who weren't at the camp have been considered like 2nd-class CSers!everything was organized very well for the campers,but there were no information for the others!We were just left alone...an example:on the 1st of January the SM's cafè has been closed all the day!But we had no information about this!
The only moment when the base was crowded was just before the pub crawl!
I think it would have been better either to involve the base a bit more into the life of the camp (maybe leaving someone always there to help who used the base as a metting point or making the place a little more attractive as venue of some event) or even better not to have a different base at all and do all the administrative stuff directly at the camp also for the non-campers!
Anyway I bet you considered also this problems before taking your decision so if you have chosen to do so this must have been the best and easy way to make the things work!

Last but not least...i saw many threads around the group discussing about the money we paid.I'm not going to read through them now because i'm lazy and it is too late anyway,but 40 euro for what you offered is really nothing!I'm wondering how could you give us so much with so few money :D

Thank you to all the organizers!

Posted January 7th, 2010 - 2:43 pm by from Brussels, Belgium (Permalink)
Palace of Art / Opera visits were ok, some people sneaked in without paying at the Opera and we - as CS community - got bad remarks so will not do it again.

My girlfriend just pointed out to me that you're probably referring to us - we were late and were guided by an incredibly helpful security guy to the group and somehow completely overlooked that there probably would have to be payment.

Is there any way we can correct this now, by transferring money to the Opera (or you) or smth? :S

Memento Park
The person in charge escorting the group overslept, it was a trouble shooting action afterwords but seem to work

I've to admit, I liked it this way, puzzling thru the meaning of everything with the help of Hungarian translators and whatever history lessons stuck in my head. And the shoe protection worked well enough in most cases if one paid a bit of mind...

Lazer tag
I'd argue was better than ok. We had a blast (for a very decent price) and people not showing up in time/at all was not really an organizational fault.

Posted January 8th, 2010 - 11:47 am by from Playa del Carmen, Mexico (Permalink)
Congratulations Andras to you and all your team in organizing this great event.
I have participated to Istanbul and Berlin and I am satisfied of Budapest as much as of the other two.
Of course in each were problems or improvements to be made, and of each I would take a lot and take away a little.

Just one thing: organizers of previous Winter Camps should help the organizers of the current ones to reduce efforts and make improvements.
If this didn't happen with BP then shame on who didn't help.

All I can say is...I will do my best to improve all 3 of the camps I attended by organizing one myself!!
p.s. Andras, International night was one of the best ever!!

Posted January 8th, 2010 - 1:47 pm by from Budapest, Hungary (Permalink)
Hi Massimo, Thanks for your kind words, they carry a little bit more weight, at least for me.

I already started collecting feedbacks, experiences, consequences, and I'll schedule a retrospective meeting to extract our observations (including a recommendation to give obvious directions to car drivers where they may park their vehicles :) and register the parked vehicles to make easier contacting the drivers if required).

This knowledge transfer is my own intention, too, and I'll be more than happy to know that the accumulated experience doesn't go wasted after all.

Posted January 9th, 2010 - 3:21 pm by from Budapest, Hungary (Permalink)

Thanks for all of your + comments.
@Massimo: Before starting BPWC preparation asked people about Istanbul and other WC, but nobody could provide of written feedback on the camps, so we agreed writing a "booklet"/guidence to close the BPWC, but it takes time ..still collecting info,analyzing outcomes...need a little rest, still having CSers..but .Zoltán is a good help so by the time you or any of you start to organize the next big event it will be available :).