What Even Is Rails Camp?
Rails Camp is not so much about Rails, or even programming per se. Rails Camp is an opportunity to hang out with other programmers. You can write code if you want. You can also play and be completely offline. I did the latter.
I saw how great the US West Rails Camp looked and had wanted to go. I saw Elle at RubyConf in San Antonio, and she asked if I’d go to the East Coast Rails Camp. I looked into it and registered when I got home. I knew a couple of other people who were going, but not a lot.
Lachlan and I had shared some cocktail recipes and photos through the months. Dark and Stormy is one of my favorites, and he bought a bottle of rum while in Australia to bring back for us to make D&S. I am still touched by that.
As Rail Camp got closer I started seeing some more people talk about it. I was looking forward to seeing some old friends and getting to know people better. I was also looking forward to meeting new people.
We were all invited to a slack channel where we talked about how excited we were and started loosely organizing some things like running, s’mores supplies, and music instruments.
There was a bus that picked up at JFK airport and Bryant park in Manhattan. I flew into LGA and took a taxi to Bryant Park. Well, I took a taxi almost to Bryant Park. I can’t deal with NYC taxi drivers.
Jessica Suttles claims the cool kids went to JFK, but I think Bryant Park was where the real action was. Nerds with suitcases and backpacks started filtering in and eventually started settling on a bar’s patio.
Rails Camp had begun!
As more people filtered in friendships were made, hugs were given, and conversations picked up where they had left off. The bus arrived and we piled in with the JFK kids.
We got to camp and got our beds. The facility was awesome. I actually slept great all three nights. Dinner was shortly after we got there. The food was all very good, too. After dinner we talked a bit about how to do the Rails Camp thing, and then started playing games and visiting.
A few of us were runners, and we organized a morning run. After that a group of people had organized a hike. Not all of us got lost on the hike.
There was canoeing, which I regrettably did not do. There was a wood-fired sauna. There was a music room upstairs with instruments. We had the option to sign up for blacksmithing, which was awesome. There were talks throughout the day on whatever you wanted to talk about. At night there were campfires, movies, karaoke, and of course more games.
It was basically a weekend to disengage with the pressures of shipping code and talk and play with other developers. It was absolutely reinvigorating.
We had to be out of the cabin by 8, so Monday was a little abbreviated. I still got a good run in and made it back in time to get cleaned up and have breakfast. Back on the bus and back to reality.
It was the most amazing experience. Everyone was incredibly open and kind. I’m super bummed that I can’t make it to the next Rails Camp West.