Reintroducing the Overnight Website Challenge

Nonprofits and volunteer technologists who like helping nonprofits, it’s my sincere pleasure to tell you that registration is open for the 2016 Twin Cities Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge.

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Foundational Changes for Overnight Website Challenge – Here’s Why and What’s Next

tl;dr: Web Challenge coming/iterating; Nerdery Foundation evolving; Ginger Bucklin’s role

I’m writing with an update on our community service through our Overnight Website Challenge and The Nerdery Foundation, including our addition of Ginger Bucklin as Executive Director of The Nerdery Foundation. For the immediate future, The Nerdery Foundation is focused on the next Web Challenge event, but in time the Foundation will take on other initiatives that support its mission to activate the passion and skills of technologists to better our world.

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Overnight Website Challenge Evolving

I’m writing to talk a bit about The Nerdery’s community service approach and to dispel (at least slightly) the myth that Mike Schmidt and I have retired to a life of leisure since turning over the CEO reins to Tommy O last month. In addition to our duties at Prime Digital Academy and The Nerdery, this transition has also given Mike and I more time to think about ways that we can support the organizations with our time. We intend to spend some of this time in 2016 evolving how we build community in development circles while giving back.
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Presidential Web Challenge welcome/skateboard break

To kick off Web Challenge weekend, Nerdery President Tom O’Neill wrote the message below to teams, nonprofits, sponsors and volunteers. But the key to any 24-hour workday is making time for simple pleasures – like skateboarding. Enjoy your weekend. Let’s ride.

“On any given Monday morning when people ask me if I had a good weekend, my answer is consistent. I can find something to like about any weekend – haven’t had a truly bad one yet. But the annual weekend of our Overnight Website Challenge is one that I get especially stoked about.

“My utility as a programmer wore off at The Nerdery a few years back, but I still dabbled in software development during Web Challenge weekends until finally being sentenced to the sidelines, where I now gladly root for all of you. As cheerleader-in-chief, I play no favorites at these nerdathons for nonprofits. I see you all as generous champions of worthy causes, and friendly rivals, and winners. I have all due respect for all of you.

“If you’re participating in the Twin Cities, expect to be high fived by me at some point in the next 24 hours. If you’re in Chicago or Kansas City, expect your high five another time. Our Phoenix Nerds can expect that our Web Challenge will go west next spring.

“But for now, with 31 pairs of nonprofits and teams in three cities this weekend – Chicago, Kansas City and St. Paul – I want to thank you all for being an important part of this growing community initiative. Nonprofits, nerds, sponsors, friends, thanks.”

– Tom O’Neill, President, The Nerdery

True Romance at the Overnight Website Challenge

You can’t make up a how-we-met story quite like the romantic Web Challenge tale of Angie Sheldon and Reed Enger – a happy couple who returned to the Web Challenge last weekend as guests of honor to relive their memories of meeting-cute three years ago at our pre-Challenge needy-meets-nerdy speed-dating mixer – and getting paired-up from thereon.

 

Pre-Web Challenge advice for nerds & nonprofits

New-and-improved, “What to expect when expecting to be at The Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge.” Over the years we’ve culled quite a bit of advice from web pros, nonprofits, and our own nerds alike. Every year, in an effort to help you be as prepared as possible for the 24-hour nerd-a-thon, we update this post and share it with you.

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Crowd-surfing Mayor RT Rybak “seen” at Web Challenge

OWC-Rybak-crowdsurf

We invited Mayor Rybak to the Web Challenge before his keynote at Minnesota Business mag’s Community Impact Awards but we understand he has a city to run (and we’re across the river). But he’s with us in spirit (a.k.a. Photoshop).

Congrats CHICAGO GATEWAY GREEN & Silverline Creative, Winners of Chicago 2012 Webchallenge

While nonprofits, webpros, and our Nerds recover from their 24-hour webchallenge, we thought we’d let you know the Chicago Gateway Green website created by Silverline Creative won the Chicago 2012 Overnight Website Challenge.

Also, you should head on over to Facebook to see a few of the funny Webchallenge tweets & a bunch of pictures from the event.

Nonprofits win nerds, nerds win toys

Winning the Web Challenge is no less glorious than summiting Mount Everest to earn a Super Bowl championship in thin air before safely descending on a waterslide while high-fiving everyone in your path. But winning fabulous prizes is nice, too. Volunteers spend raffle tickets in pursuit of these treasures:

New New iPad: Were you one of those suckers who bought the “New” iPad a scant seven months ago? Sooth your anger at Apple by winning this NEWER New iPad and go back to your rightful spot of having the shiniest, newest toy available.

Lego Death Star: Bored on the weekends with nothing to do? This 3,800 piece LEGO Death Star may be for you. At 16” tall and 16” wide, it’s an imposing addition to any LEGO collection. Get yours now before the Death Star is permanently “upgraded” to include mouse ears.

Fitbit + Sleep Tracker Thingee + Scale + Belt: While programming is hard work, it unfortunately doesn’t come with the same physical fitness benefits that a career in logging does. Win this prize package and you’ll have more data on your health than you can shake an empty Pringles can at. It tracks steps, stairs climbed, distance, calories burned and measures how long and well you sleep. The  Nathan Shadow Pak (it’s NOT a fanny pack, ok!?) discreetly carries your personal items while you run.

Minecraft package: Not sure how to properly express to your special someone that you have an unhealthy obsession for Minecraft? Winning this prize pack should do the trick. If assembling your brand new Minecraft LEGO set while wearing the Creeper cardboard mask doesn’t do it, perhaps the magnets, pins and note cube will. If all else fails, perform a one-person Minecraft reenactment around the house with your foam Minecraft pickaxe and sword as props. They’ll surely get the message then.

Etsy Giftcard – $250: For when you can’t justifying buying a walnut baguette cutting board, a vintage brass camel figurine and a beaded crochet bracelet on your own dime.

Nest: Thermostats. BORING, right? Not so. This beauty will make your home look like it’s out of the Jetsons as it learns your schedule. Trust us, this little guy isn’t sentient, so there’s no danger of it taking control of your home appliances – what it will do is help you take control of your monthly utility bills by changing temperatures based on when you’re home and away. Coming home early? Use the mobile app to connect to your thermostat. No SkyNet here!

Apple Thunderbolt Display: For work or for play, everyone can use a bigger monitor. This 27-inch model by Apple also manages to pack in some extra whiz-bang features like LED backlighting, a FaceTime HD camera, 3 USB 2.0 ports and more.

Intuos5 Touch Medium: Sometimes a mouse and MS Paint just won’t do. When that situation arises you’ll be happy to have this powerful multi-touch surface tablet. With 48.8 square inches of working area, this is perfect for designers and illustrators alike.

Canon Rebel T4: If it’s good enough for a paid celebrity endorsement from Andre Agassi, then it should be good enough for you. Fault!

Wii U Deluxe Set (not pictured): Do you find today’s consoles too boring for your tastes? Wish that you had more screens to look at? Never fear, for the Wii U is (nearly) here. As soon as your copy arrives at Nerdery HQ, we’ll send it off to you to enjoy this all new gaming experience. And then maybe you can explain it to us… we’re not entirely sure how it works.

Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge clock ticking

2012 Chicago Overnight Website Challenge from The Nerdery on Vimeo.

And we’re off. This weekend at The Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge, 115 volunteer web pros will give a dozen nonprofits more than 2,700 hours of their time and a ridiculous amount of their talent. The same judges who selected 12 Illinois nonprofits (from 61 applicants) will return to assess the nerdy deeds/pro bono service of 12 development teams – at 9 a.m. Sunday they’ll award bragging rights to team that’s best served their assigned nonprofit. Until then there’s considerable needy-meets-nerdy buzz in the air at Roosevelt.