Product Camp Scholarship Announced

By Jennifer Doctor

My passion for Product Camps is no secret. Since attending my first one in November 2009, I have gone on the road to enjoy additional events as well as organized a few, bringing me to the grand total of being an attendee at 12 Product Camps. (That is, until the 2012 year where I hope to go to some more!) Each one was fantastic and I loved learning from, teaching and networking with all of the product professionals I have had the pleasure of meeting over the past few years.

Now it’s my turn to pay it forward.

As many of you know, for the past several years I have done some “side projects”, aka consulting work. Sometimes this was my primary income; sometimes it supplemented a salary from a company. While doing this work I have operated under the business name HarborLight Partners. It is through this business I am starting a new program – a Product Camp Scholarship.

A scholarship to attend a product camp? Yes. The scholarship is being offered to help new, first-time attendees with travel expenses when their companies do not so that the individual does not have to bear the whole expense out of pocket. (I’ve done that 8 times, and it can add up.) The scholarship is not enough for airfare or to stay at a 4-star hotel; but, if you need help with a tank or two of gas, or one night at a reasonable business hotel, and that will make the difference in your attending, then this program is for you.

I am not looking to have the major product vendors contribute large dollar amounts so that more people can attend. The vendors do a great job of sponsoring the events, and when you add it up they spend quite a lot of money on our community. Rather, this is a micro-scholarship program designed by the product professional community FOR the product professional community. Why? Simple. All too often we have no one to turn to for support in our companies, being an isolated team of one (or a few); but, product camps offer us a support network where we can turn for continued learning. That is what this program is designed to support.

The form for first-time attendees to apply is available here. It’s a 5-minute process. If you are considering attending your first Product Camp, now is the time to apply. Requests must be received 2 weeks in advance of the Product Camp date.

When you do attend remember to do so with a purpose. If you want to propose a session, read this short blog post about presenting at a Product Camp.

Money will be awarded as it is available. There are no guarantees of amounts or the duration of the program. I have seeded the fund with a beginning balance. But, to keep offering the scholarship, more money will be needed. I am committed to adding to it as I am able; but if you have been to a product camp, see value and want to support the program and pay it forward, there is a link here where you can add your micro-donation to the cause. (This is not an official non-profit scholarship fund. There is no tax deduction available.) Even those $10 donations can add up fast and make a difference when the product community comes together.

Now’s the time to start applying! I hope that past attendees of a Product Camp see value, come together as a community and join the cause. I also ask the product community to help promote this program. It’s not about me – it’s about us. Come join the fun! I’ll see you soon at a product camp. (And, thank you.)

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