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Our first ChangeCamp — so much more than I could ask for

Our first ChangeCamp — so much more than I could ask for

As a new week dawns, I look back over the weekend and our amazing first ChangeCampAU with equal parts elation, excitement – and, yes, a touch of exhaustion.

I’m elated at the space, energy and action we co-created together on Saturday. I’m excited by what the future holds for you as individuals and organisations and for us a community and a city. And I’m filled with that delicious tiredness from working hard to turn the seedling of an idea into an amazing example of collective ‘doing’.

We are not only all stronger for the experience but I am too.

An idea is born

In 2009 I attended my first ChangeCamp in Vancouver, where I was blown away by the experience and inspired to introduce the concept to Australia. In January 2017, after the seeing a few of my friends burn out and start to retreat from working towards social innovation, public service, smart cities and resilient cities, I realised how much we needed something like this here.

So, I contacted the Canadian team and asked for their advice, developed a concept paper to explain the idea, and started talking to people in my network to see if the idea resonated with them. And it did – big time!

The first few people I spoke to said, YES, HOW CAN I HELP?, which pushed me to think about what I actually needed to deliver, and to ASK for specifics. This ‘asking’ was so critical to a process that has been fun, interesting and hard, but one that has also filled me up with love and support.

amelia-loye-with-changecamp-teamTaking the leap

My friends – our peers – pushed me to ask for specifics. I contacted the UTS school of business and asked for a venue; I met with DiUS and 4xample and asked for design, technical and website support; and then I contacted our facilitators David and Lina, whom I have wanted to work with for ages. When these people shared the concept with others, the idea really started to gain momentum and our design and deliver teams were formed.

These were people from all walks of my work life – leaders, organisations and individuals –   and they all took a leap of faith with me, even though none of us were 100% clear about the concept and what might happen. But that is the nature of engagement and collaboration: listening, letting things emerge, co-designing, co-creating and being open to your actions and the reactions they evoke.

It was also risky and exciting to invest and attribute my brand to ChangeCamp, a volunteer-driven co-creation. Designing and delivering the event depended on the support, participation and commitment of people I call friends, my clients, business partners and my network. It wasn’t just my professional reputation or brand that was at stake, my relationships were too.

Then we asked you to register and you answered. You took a giant leap of faith with me and our team too, helping us to deliver more than I could ever ask for or imagine.

We were so pleased at the initial burst of registrations and support when we announced the event. And once we reached the early adopters, then the hard work of getting the word out to others began.

We wanted to bring people together from across sectors. We wanted to understand the social change landscape and networks in our community, to demonstrate that people and organisations are delivering social changes everywhere across Sydney and beyond. And it worked.

As you all registered, we would read through your session suggestions and cheer. This gathering momentum energised us and pushed us to finalise the design of the day to enrich your experience. And we shared that energy through blog posts encouraging others to register and to share their social change initiatives at ChangeCamp.

The day dawns

This whole process has been incredibly humbling, moving and enriching. I feel honoured and impressed by the amazing people who stepped up to get involved, and who invested so much of their time, energy and talents to help create this incredible day.

And with your creative contributions enriching the day in more ways than we could have imagined, it all came together so beautifully.

On Saturday, I felt pretty overwhelmed and anxious when I was giving my opening speech. I knew that no matter what I did, I could not do enough to recognise how much everyone had contributed to create the day and how amazing the process of asking and receiving had been personally.

I feel so heartened by the whole experience. And I am already hearing stories about the event’s impact on individuals via the connections they made and new collaborations that are already gaining momentum. It’s so exciting – and validating. And I’d like to do more to recognise and reward those involved this time, to give others the opportunity to get involved in ChangeCamp in their communities, and to support community-driven social change in Australia.

Looking ahead

So in the spirit of asking, here is what we need to continue doing this work.


  • Click the link to the survey on this page so we can understand and talk to others about the social impact of the event and get your permission to share contact details with each other.
  • Share your photos and if you ran a session, add your notes in the shared google drive (add to them, please do not edit others).
  • Get in touch if you would like to sponsor or volunteer at future ChangeCamps: info@engage2.com.au  
  • Join us on our Facebook page and share it with others. How did you feel about ChangeCamp? What came out of it for you? And continue asking and offering. Together we are stronger.

Keep those connections alive and continue to fan each other’s flames. Reach out to each other and turn your ideas into action by asking, doing and co-creating.

Let’s keep this momentum going! For ourselves, each other and our communities. This is how we build a sustainable smart city and resilient community.

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