Supporting DojoCons in the future

DojoCons are community-led conferences specifically tailored to volunteers, where they share with and learn from each other. Dojocon attendees are champions, mentors, and anyone else who is involved or interested in getting involved in the CoderDojo movement. These conferences feature keynote speeches, seminars led by professionals from the educational and digital technology sectors, and workshops hosted by Dojo volunteers.

As the CoderDojo movement evolves, we’re expanding our support to help you run DojoCons for your local Dojo volunteer communities across the globe. To make your Dojo sustainable, forming connections within your local community is key. And the purpose of all DojoCons is to connect and inspire volunteers in order to help strengthen and grow the CoderDojo network even further.

DojoCons so far

The first DojoCon happened in 2012 in Limerick, and this annual international conference has since taken place in Slane (Ireland), Sligo (Ireland), Derry/Londonderry (Northern Ireland), Warrington (UK), and Dun Laoghaire (Ireland). This year’s international DojoCon will happen on 19–21 October in Kilkenny, Ireland. Meanwhile, volunteers have also organised regional DojoCons in Japan, Australia, and Italy, to name but a few locations.

Up until this year, we asked volunteers to apply to host the international DojoCon. Then, together with a group of community members, we chose the best candidate team. Doing it this way had a couple of downsides: firstly, we always got a lot of interest, which was great in principle, but also meant that some volunteer teams would narrowly miss out because of one team with a  slightly better application.

Secondly, since the international DojoCon had a new location and organising team each year, it lacked continuity. Feedback from past organisers has made it clear that this resulted in larger workloads for them than expected, which was tricky to handle given that they are already active in the Dojo community, often work full time, and have many other commitments besides.

Better support for DojoCons

At the same time, in the past few years, regular regional DojoCons have also been developed, with hundreds of volunteers attending the annual DojoCon Japan and DojoCon Australia events, for example. The communities in these countries have successfully built dedicated DojoCon teams that share the workload and learn from their experiences year after year. These DojoCons also have a strong attendee base within their region, and multi-year partners, which makes financing the events easier.

Given the overwhelming success of regional DojoCons in several locations worldwide, we in the CoderDojo Foundation team have decided to shift our support away from one single international DojoCon to focus on helping you run DojoCons as regional events for everyone in your local communities.

We think this type of support will:

  • Prevent organisers from becoming overwhelmed, because the volunteers can start small and then, if they so wish, grow their event in years to come
  • Encourage more Dojo volunteers to meet others in their region, share their experiences, and form productive long-term collaborations and friendships
  • Engage and inspire local communities to help Dojos recruit more new volunteers so that the clubs can stay active for longer
  • Enable us to support more CoderDojo community members in different places in the world, instead of narrowing support to one community

DojoCons are a cornerstone of the CoderDojo volunteer community: for years, they’ve offered an amazing space for learning and sharing with one another. We think our expanded support will be extremely successful in connecting you with other Dojos and new volunteers, thus making your clubs more sustainable and enjoyable and helping us all to reach more young people worldwide.

 

How we will support your DojoCon

We will tailor the support we give you for your DojoCon based on the scale of your event, as well as the number of DojoCon teams contacting us per year.

Some of the support we offer is:

  • A practical ‘How to run a DojoCon’ handbook to help you with all aspects of organising your event
  • A monetary contribution of up to €500 towards travel bursaries, catering, or venue costs
  • Sending a CoderDojo Foundation team member to attend your event and host a workshop/presentation
  • Regular webinars with a CoderDojo Foundation staff member to support you in putting on the best DojoCon you can

Why should you run a DojoCon?

The CoderDojo movement is focused on the experience of the Ninjas — DojoCon is a time for the volunteers! This community event is a fantastic chance for you to connect with other like-minded people who play an instrumental part in the CoderDojo movement. It is also a unique opportunity for you to share experiences and best practices with the Dojo volunteer community, to learn about new technology, and to build your professional network.

I want to run a DojoCon! What’s next?

Check out our DojoCon handbook that outlines everything you need to know about organising your event. And please contact [email protected] to tell us you want to run a DojoCon so that we can talk with you about how we can best support you. We look forward to your email!

Take inspiration from other DojoCons

Check out the DojoCon handbook

Our easy to follow DojoCon handbook will help you to plan and run your own DojoCon. Check it out here.

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