West Coast Community Leadership Summit (AKA CLS West)

The fourth annual West Coast Community Leadership Summit will be on February 2nd, 2013, at the eBay Town Hall Conference Center in San Jose. Join experienced community leaders and organizers to discuss, debate and explore the many avenues of building strong community in an open unconference setting.

Monday, July 19, 2010

To call it a Camp or NOT to call it a Camp, That is the Question

At the recent Community Leadership Summit in Portland, Dave Nielsen proposed that regional unconferences be called Community Leadership Camps rather than Community Leadership Summits. The rationale being that the unconference format we use is closely aligned with the "Camp" brand (FooCamp, BarCamp, CloudCamp, etc...). In practice, I don't think people would spell it all out. So, we are really talking about the term CLCamp. This would then lead to qualification of the regional events by geography appended to that. At least, that is how it tends to work for the other branded camps. In our case, that would mean CLCamp West.

My first reaction was a very strong one against this proposal. However, I have since realized that Dave's proposal only pertains to the unconference events and not all the other activities associated with the existing CLS West brand: Ignites, First Fridays, Special Events, etc...

You see, CLS West is not just an unconference. CLS West is a "community" of community leaders here in the bay area that come together in many different ways. This led to the realization that CLS West needs to live on as the umbrella entity associated with our Ignite events, our First Friday dinner gatherings, and special events like the CLS West Karaoke Holiday Party in the works for December of 2010. =)

So, what we are really talking about is the event name for our next unconference gathering here in the bay area. Regardless of the name, the sponsoring entity/organization will be CLS West. With that in mind, the possibilities that I see for the event name are:
  • CLS West
  • CLSCamp West
  • CLCamp West
Personally, I don't have a strong need to associate our unconference event with the "Camp" brand. I believe the advantages of that association are outweighed by the weakening of the association with the "CLS" brand. Which is why my first choice would be to leave it alone and have our main event simply use our umbrella title of CLS West. However, I could live with incorporating the "Camp" brand into the name as long as the "CLS" brand is kept intact. This means I would be okay with CLSCamp West.

What I am strongly opposed to is calling it a CLCamp. This completely removes the "CLS" brand association. For me, the "CLS" brand represents the concept of bringing community builders together in a vendor-neutral environment. It just so happens that the first ever CLS event was an unconference. Through the activities of CLS West over the past 6 months, we have demonstrated that the "CLS" brand as described here can be effectively applied to other event formats too.

So, now you know my opinions on the matter. Although I spearheaded the formation of CLS West and continue to take a leadership role in the community, I realize that I am here to serve the community. The best way to serve the community in this situation is to solicit your input into the final decision. To that end, I have created this simple online poll where everyone that is a member of CLS West can vote and be counted. We will implement the community's decision whatever it may be.

That's All Folks!


  1. Personally I think using initials is a worse branding decision that the problems you have with using "camp" ...

    One suggestion to get around this is to just call it CommunityCamp. Because leadership could be implied, as what is a community without leadership?

  2. It has occurred to me that at some point we may want to have a CLS event that isn't an unconference. Meanwhile, I wouldn't be opposed to the event (not the community itself, either CLS West or the full CLS) being called a Camp, though summits are often unconferences these days so I'm not sure the label means much. However, I think dropping the "S" would be a mistake.

  3. CLS West is a brand I've come to recognize and know amongst many competing for my time and attn. If it ain't broke...

  4. I think newcomers would wonder, if we were called CLCamp West or CLS Camp West, if there was a similar East or Central organization. I feel like this is not just a CLS West decision, but one that has more far-reaching scope that should be taken into account. Are other Community Leadership Summits rebranding in accordance with this comment?

  5. CLS is not a well-known acronym and I always have to think about what it means. Then Community Leadership Summit is way too long.
    The camp moniker has surpassed the hype phase and will soon be seriously uncool. Something more original is needed IMO.

  6. Joy,

    Good observation. At this point, there has been only one regional event and that would be ours. The naming issue was raised in the context of getting the naming "right" before there are many other regional events and then it would be too late to make a change. I am polling our community to get their feedback. As the only community to have done one of these already so far, I think the input of this community is particularly relevant.

  7. I would have liked to have seen an option for CLC West (most similar to CLS West which is currently the most used)

  8. CLC West doesn't seem like a reasonable option to me. It never even crossed my mind as an option for the poll. The justification of even thinking of renaming to call it a camp was to call out in the name that it is a camp. I've never seen the camp portion of event names lumped in to the acronyms for the events. For example, you never see FOOC to refer to a FooCamp or CC for a CloudCamp.

  9. Upon further reflection, I am even more concerned about incorporating "Camp" in the name in any way. I find that camps originally were primarily for a technical crowd and to this day are more popular among that crowd. With the large annual CLS gatherings tied to OSCON, this has already led to the attendance coming mainly from technical communities out of the gate. Personally, I hope that our regional CLS events will over time get a better mix of folks from technical and non-technical communities. I fear that incorporating "Camp" in our local event names could work against efforts to draw in the non-technical community folks.

  10. 獨居時,要反省自己的過錯;在社會大眾之間,則要忘卻別人的過失。..................................................

  11. I agree w/Clive -- CLSWest is what I've known this event to be. If it aint broke...