I'm sitting at the Portland Bar Camp, listening to my friend Tony Deis from TrackersNW. He's tell me about how he ran a outdoor camp for high school students using Agile practices. Tony said, "We got to the campgrounds on Sunday after a long drive. It was raining. We had an Umiak to build and a rotation schedule of activities for the campers. Bn Monday, I felt miserable. We were missing the kids and staff expectations for the kind of freedom and accountability we want for our camps."

Then Tony had an idea. On Tuesday morning, he held a retrospective with the 22 campers and 8 staff members. They looked at how things had gone up until that point. The campers came up with a backlog of action items for the next day. Tony asked the opinions of the action leaders to discover what they needed - # of people, equipment, supplies - for each activity. When the back log was completed, the campers signed up for various activities - which included tasks like staying dry, gathering mussels and other wild food, cooking meals, cleaning up, help with farm chores, slaughtering and butchering a sheep, tanning the sheepskin and making tallow candles, and much more. Oh, and building the whale boat. I can't type as fast as Tony tells me about this adventure.

From that moment on, each day camp started with signing up for the day's activities. It continued with three stand-up meetings each day and a retrospective at the the close of day. During the stand-up meetings, campers identified obstacles and impediments, as well as transferring excitement for the activities they'd completed to other campers. At the end of each retrospective, they groomed their backlog for the next day.

By mid-week, the campers took over the stand-up meetings and retrospectives. The first camper-led retrospective was a bit rocky, and as they gained respect for the process, the very next retrospective was, as Tony says, "Smoking Hot!" As were all the rest. And, the campers were noticing how their empowered action at camp might fit for their student meetings at school.

Tony thinks that it was important that they had the same place to meet in each day, an old barn. So the meetings could happen out of the rain.

I wish I could convey Tony's excitement. TrackersNW has incorporated a number of Agile practices in its own business administration. This is the first time they've moved on to using the practices in their programs. I suspect it won't be the last.