Mindcamp 2012 Survey Results

Mindcamp Random

So… here’s the scoop.

Mindcamp X will be August 23-26, 2012, at YMCA Geneva Park, and will very likely include an optional additional day on August 22.

We sent the survey out, for the most part, to alumni from Mindcamp 2009, 2010, and 2011. This was primarily driven by the fact that we didn’t have electronic records handy for the other years. We did however have our memories, and added a few names to the list based on that. Plus we added a few names of people who haven’t come yet but we want them to.

All in all 300+ invitations were sent, and ±140 did the survey, checking off the numbers in response to specific questions. Plus, we got lots of free-form feedback. Like, really a lot. As in, most of you had something (or things) to say. Thanks again for all your input, both in the survey and in follow-up emails and comments on the as-of-now-no-longer-secret Geneva Park page.

The Skinny

  • Mindcamp in August seems to have more advantages than disadvantages for Mindcampers as a whole
  • Although many of you protested undying love of Cedar Glen (we feel the same!), a lot of respondents are interested in the increased comfort and summer-camp amenities
  • An extra day would make Mindcamp too long for many but is of interest to some: making it optional seems the way to go
  • The additional travel time does not seem to be a deal-breaker

Let’s make this clear: We love Cedar Glen, we truly do! But we are considering the new venue because of space (it accommodates more people) and comfort (we can offer better beds, better food, and single rooms). Our efforts are to ensure that we are able to keep what’s great about Cedar Glen and while making some things ever better.

Here are the detailed results:

Mindcamp in August?

If we were to move Mindcamp to the third or fourth week of August, would you be less likely to attend, or more likely to attend?

The reaction to the date change was mixed, but mostly positive. A number remarked on the possibility of bringing children or a spouse. Others, however, felt August was “family time” and they would not like to have to choose. A few of the many comments about this:

Yes please please move it to August! We want always to be a Mindcamp and it is currently positioned in rough dates for us.

I love the consideration of moving to August because I teach every weekend in the Fall semester.

I could easily see us attending as a family each year — especially if it was in August when the kids haven’t started school.

I loved Mindcamp! The challenge for me is that August is very precious summer time for my family and I wouldn’t be able to attend Mindcamp
August is so busy with holidays, family and end the summer events, back to school and back to routine prep. Having Mindcamp in September is like getting re-energized for the school/work year ahead, perfect timing!

Add a Day?

If Mindcamp were to become a 4-day conference, would you be less likely to attend, or more likely to attend?

The reaction to adding a day was mixed but mostly negative.

Having the conference short is better for me — easier get away for.

Part of what I like about Mindcamp is that it is only 3 days. It’s hard to justify much more time than that away from my family. 3 days is a nice infusion of creativity — not too much and not too little.

If you change it to a 4 day conference, would it be difficult to also offer the option of 3 days for those that cannot make it for the 4 days due to work or other commitments?

Comfort and Cost

If we moved Mindcamp to a more comfortable but slightly more expensive location, would you be less likely to attend, or more likely to attend?

Most of you were positive (4 or 5) or neutral on this issue.

I like the idea of a slightly more comfortable place, although I like the current place as well for the surroundings.

Everything was great, looking back, I missed out on a lot of people time because I believed I wouldn’t be comfortable in the on site accommodations, so I went off site (didn’t enjoy that either).

I have thoroughly enjoyed the many Mindcamps at Cedar Glen, and would not have any issues if we returned there again next year. That being said, any improvement in the accommodations…would only add to the comfort level.

There is a strong concern about having a cheaper option for those who prefer it, similar to the yurts at Mindcamp.

Wondering if the tent option or lower cost yurt option is available at the proposed new site…If there aren’t yurts, are their any similarly ‘lesser’ quality options to make a sliding scale attendance possible?

The good news is, yes, there are a number of dormitory spaces available (8 beds per room) for a lower cost.

But the BIG issue, mentioned many times, is that the rugged/rustic/outdoorsy nature of Cedar Glen is very, very important to Mindcamp, and most of you would not want extra comfort if it meant losing that.

I really like the camp feeling, with the potential change in venue please be sure to keep this in mind.

All in all I prefer present location for convenience, ruggedness, price. We work harder and hardier, I feel.

Keep the rustic feeling and the fun atmosphere.

I wouldn’t want it to move to a much more finished/polished place. Much of what was special was the camp experience and campfire etc.

Yes, Cedar Glen is a bit rustic and it might be nice to have a bit more comfort. However, the fact that Cedar Glen had so few amenities in the rooms really was a bonus for me. I feel it encourages participants to stay out of their rooms (and the technology) and get fully immersed in the “Mindcamp” experience.

The accommodations at Cedar Glen are very comfortable and more then adequate. Part of the experience is leaving the comforts of “home” behind.

CPSI was at a nice hotel this year in Atlanta and I believe it lost “something.” It felt too corporate, like it could have been any conference.

The good news: campfires, woods, some trails, and Muskoka/Adirondack chairs are very much a part of Geneva Park. Also, like Cedar Glen, it is a YMCA-run facility, with Y staff and Y values.

Travel Time

If we moved Mindcamp to this new location [45 minutes further from Toronto], would you be less likely to attend, or more likely to attend?

On this question most answers were neutral. The added travel time made a significant difference to some, however. It’s not surprising that nobody wants to drive farther without being sure there are commensurate benefits. Just to clarify, Geneva Park is 45 minutes (not 90 minutes!) further NORTH from Toronto than Cedar Glen. That’s good news for a few, but an extra challenge for most.

The travel may have a negative effect on daily visitors who commute.

The move sounds good but the distance is annoying.

I checked the location and drive time from Ottawa. It turns out that it’s roughly the same drive time for we Ottawans.

Water Sports and Gym Facilities

The new location described above is on a lake and offers water sports (swimming, canoeing, etc.) as well as gym facilities. Would the availability of these facilities make you less likely to attend, or more likely to attend?

Very positive responses to this, not surprisingly. A couple of you commented that this might also make a difference to spouse/children attending.

My partner is more likely to join me if the accommodation and food are better and there are water sports that he can do as an option to or in addition to attending workshops.

Got Kids?

Nearly three-quarters of those who responded do not have children in the relevant age group. However 24 mentioned they were either likely to bring kids (11) or that they’d think about it (13).

The Ideas

Mindcampers are awfully creative and most of you couldn’t resist coming up with a few ideas. In fact, lots of ideas. Rest assured we are considering them!

The Raves

We can’t resist including some of the extra raves we received…Anyway who wishes to turn this into a rap song please post on YouTube and let us know.

  • I had a great time at my first Mindcamp! Thanks!
  • I have a great souvenir of my Mindcamp and I hope to come back some day.
  • MC was GREAT this year – as always – you guys do a fabulous job
  • Keep up the excellent work!
  • I am delighted we have made it to our tenth anniversary planning stage…Rock on, Mindcamp!
  • You guys rock!
  • Mindcamp rocks.
  • Nothing to add other than my compliments on a great job.
  • Wherever, whenever, MC is always a part of the decision making set!
  • Where or when, doesn’t matter, really hope to make it this year!
  • I will look forward to attending Mindcamp wherever, whenever!
  • I am confident that the 10th will be amazing no matter what you decide, because it is the collective of everyone that makes it so magical!
  • A really fantastic value, with great content, awesome fellow Mindcampers and a fantastic venue!
  • I always LOVE the Mindcamp experience…Thanks again for all of the hard work you put into this camp. It is always fulfilling and definitely fills my cup.
  • I trust your instincts… wherever you guys were I’d do everything I could to be there!
  • I loved mindcamp every year that I went….I can’t wait to attend Mindcamp again :).
  • The only reason my responses were not more positive was because I plan on attending regardless.
  • Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we (all 7 together) could spend our next holiday in Canada and add Mindcamp on top of it ??? !!!
  • I would come whenever and wherever you had Mindcamp!
  • You all are a great example of the best there is in creativity conferences.
  • I am looking forward to Mindcamp X already!
  • Looking forward to the new experiences…..
  • Looking forward to it!
  • Looking forward … !
  • I’d go if it were in Timbuktu, would you?


Thanks again for all your input, both in the survey and in follow-up emails and comments on the now-no-longer-secret-reward Geneva Park page.