Offline Camp, Take 4 🎬

It’s time for the next Offline Camp, and we’re pleased to announce we’re headed to… 🥁🥁🥁

The Offline Camp Experience

As event organizers, we may be a little biased, but we think the Offline Camp experience is something pretty special. The secluded location and unconference format of the event are carefully crafted to build a sense of community, and our campers seem to think it’s working. Here’s what they have to say about the special sauce that makes Offline Camp so unique:

Curious about the format of Offline Camp? Here’s what our campers have to say about the unique experience.

Campers select the discussion topics at Offline Camp (all within the broader theme of Offline First), which means that the subjects we cover vary from one event to the next based on attendees’ interests. Our Medium publication offers a sampling of recaps of the unconference sessions from past events, as well as passion talks shared by campers. Overview posts from the Catskills, California, and Berlin can serve as a launching point if you’d like to get a sense of the broad range of interests of our campers.

Picking a site for the next camp

We know it can be hard to do long distance travel for a short event, so we love the idea of hosting our events near the folks who are interested in attending. We met our first campers at Offline Camp Catskills in June of 2016, headed west for Offline Camp California in November of 2016, and made our first trek to Europe for Offline Camp Berlin in May of 2017.

Before choosing the location for our 4th event, we set up a quick survey to help us figure out where our next batch of potential campers are located, and the vote tally currently favors Europe and North America. Having just visited Germany in the spring, we decided to head back to the other side of the Atlantic this fall.

To achieve that awesome Offline Camp vibe we’ve come to love, we were looking for a beautiful destination off the beaten path. Turns out that the search for the perfect secluded venue tends to necessitate an incredibly long road trip! Folks who followed us closely on Twitter last month (both of you!) noticed some social media shenanigans as two of us hit the road for a 1,100 mile trip through as-of-yet-undisclosed territory.

Despite Bradley Holt’s fabulous flower photography in Vermont and the borrowed pics of English and Scottish countryside meant to throw you off our trail, it was actually Steve Trevathan and I cruising along in our Mystery Machine across three gorgeous states to check out a few potential venues.

Some pics from the actual road trip. Please excuse the unavoidable bug splatter. And don’t bother Googling “Big House.”

So where did we end up, exactly?

The big reveal

(In which we finally get around to telling you where we’re going)

Thank you, Google, for your extensive zooming capabilities.

After much road tripping through the gorgeous Pacific Northwest of the United States, we’re pleased to announce that the next Offline Camp will take place at the Cascade Mountain Ranch in Grants Pass, Oregon from November 10–13, 2017. (That’s Veterans Day weekend.)

We also scoped out some fabulous venues in the great state of Washington, but after carefully considering such important factors as capacity, natural surroundings, accommodations, the delicate balance between secludedness and accessibility, etc., we ultimately had to pick the location with the best meme potential. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Case in point:

Luckily, our road trip to scope out venues was somewhat more successful than this. (Credit: Giphy)

In all seriousness, Cascade Mountain Ranch is a hidden gem. The ranch encompasses 50 acres surrounded by wilderness lands and nestled in its own private valley in Southwest Oregon. It’s roughly 4 hours south of Portland, Oregon or 6 hours north of San Francisco, California by car, and there’s a small regional airport just 30 minutes away in Medford.

The property has two lodges, and to please our very observant Twitter followers who like to point out how much internet access we (ironically) have while posting from Offline Camp, one of the lodges is WiFi-free. It also boasts a game room, 1–2 ponds (depending on rainfall), a firepit (if fire regulations allow), and plenty of walking trails. And most importantly, llamas. That’s right, folks. Llamas at camp!

Insider tip: If you hear a llama clear its throat, it’s probably about to spit. Potentially in your face. Step aside, friend. Step aside.

Steven demonstrates where not to put your face when a llama is clearing its throat (and other sights from Cascade Mountain Ranch).

Joining the wagon party

Want to join us?

Our goal is to gather a group of kind and caring campers who will be respectful and constructive participants in our camp community, contribute actively to discussions on Offline First, and bring diverse and unique perspectives to the subject matter at hand. To that end, we’ve changed things up a bit this year, and it’s important that you take the time to read about our new application process before applying.

After you’ve thoroughly explored the newly launched Offline Camp Oregon website, be sure to submit your application form by September 22 to qualify for the Early Bird rate of $450, which includes your food and lodging for the weekend. (After that date, if we still have tickets available, the rate will increase to $550.) We’ll schedule a call with you to learn more about your interest in Offline First (and general awesomeness) and will get back to you with a decision after the Early Bird deadline passes. (We’re aiming to respond by October 2 so those attending have plenty of time to book travel).

Insider tip: The first to apply get the biggest beds!

A note for Offline Camp alumni: We anticipate capping the number of returning campers in order to ensure we’re bringing new folks into the community, so please give careful thought to the answers on your application form.

Financing the journey

We’ve set aside a limited amount of scholarship money for those who would be unable to attend Offline Camp without financial assistance. On the application form, you’ll see a place to indicate that you would need some extra help to make it to camp. Please don’t hesitate to apply!

Anyone can donate any amount to our scholarship fund right now ( ❤️ ) to increase our ability to bring a diverse group of campers to Oregon.

We’re also eager for companies with an interest in the Offline First movement (or diversity in tech) to step up and sponsor Offline Camp so we can provide an even more awesome experience for all our campers, or travel funding for those in need. Past sponsors, including IBM, Google, YLD, simplabs, Neighbourhoodie, and Make&Model Inc., have made our events a success.

A huge thank you to IBM, Make&Model Inc., and Neighbourhoodie for their support of Offline Camp Oregon to date. We wouldn’t be able to hitch our wagons for this journey without you!

Can’t make it to Oregon?

If Oregon doesn’t work for you, or you’re not available on this particular weekend, never fear! Take a minute to let us know where you’d like us to take Offline Camp in the future, and we’ll be sure you’re notified when we announce our next event.

Not quite ready for the Offline Camp experience?

If you’re curious about Offline First but aren’t prepared to engage in a weekend of intensive, participatory discussion yet, keep that chin up! We’re in the early stages of planning for an Offline First conference (of more traditional format) that will better suit the needs of folks who have less experience. Be sure to follow us here on Medium so we can alert you when we have more info.

A note on the trail ahead

My alternate title for this post, which would have spoiled the ending.

It’s going to be really hard for us to choose between Oregon Trail memes and llama memes in the coming weeks, so please bear with us through whatever silliness may lie ahead. If you’re not a member of the Oregon Trail Generation, things might get a little confusing. We urge you to just roll with it, or simulate the Apple II gaming experience to get up to speed. We promise we’ll make it worth your while with an amazing camp experience.

We (and the llamas) can’t wait to see you at Offline Camp Oregon!

Your Offline Camp Oregon organizing team: Steven Trevathan, Gregor Martynus, Teri Chadbourne, and Bradley Holt