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pack your bags, we're going to camp! (giveaway)

This one's for my fellow social media addicts, creatives, and entrepreneurs. Heck, even if you're not sure about all things digital, this is for you too. I'm contstantly looking for ways to brush up my online know-how and social media chops, and I recently stumbled upon a nifty organization called Camp Tech.

Camp Tech was founded in 2012, by graphic designer and self-described design geek Avery Schwartz. Around 2010, she noticed a digital shift in how organizations were expected to behave: once upon a time a website was enough, but businesses, freelancers, and entrepreneurs were now expected to have a website, a blog, an active e-mail newsletter, and a thriving social media presence.

That’s a lot for pretty much anyone to wrap their head around, and her design clients started asking her how they could learn to juggle all these digital tools. So she created Camp Tech, originally based in Toronto.

Since then, Camp Tech has expanded to Ottawa and Vancouver, offering about 250 workshops across Canada each year. They've created half-day and full-day in-person workshops to help you brush up your digital savvy or to help you get some savvy in the first place. And they do it by focusing on concrete, practical skills you can put into practice right away, not pie-in-the-sky type stuff.

In an online world where just about anyone can call themselves a digital expert or social media maven (oh how I cringe at that one), it can be tough to figure out who's for real and who just calls themself an expert because they like to tweet and have a pretty decent Instagram. But there's no fluffy stuff here: these folks have worked with Bullfrog Power, Kobo, the City of Ottawa, Canadian Living, and many others, not to mention oodles of entrepreneurs.

I dug a bit deeper to find out more about Camp Tech's course offerings and I was so impressed that I have to share them with you. First of all, their courses sound like *exactly* what many of us want to work on: "I wish I was better at..." you fill in the blank.

Their topics include WordPress for Beginners, SEO: How to Drive More Traffic to Your Website, The Business of Blogging (pick me!), E-mail Marketing, Google Analytics, HTML and CSS, Social Media Basics and Advanced, Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator, and DIY Online Video.

And equally important as the topics they cover: they're frigging affordable! Camp Tech sessions start at just $85 a pop. $85! I've spent that much on a sweater and it didn't teach me CSS. Seriously though, how many emails have landed in your inbox for courses that cost over a grand for a one-day session? I know I've received tons and let's face it, that just ain't happening. But $85 I can manage.

If you're currently sizing up your skillset and are finding a few gaps, here's what's coming up in Ottawa:


LOCATION: HUB Ottawa, 71 Bank Street, Ottawa
DATE: Tuesday, February 2, 2016
TIME: 1:00PM - 4:00PM
INSTRUCTOR: Christina Davies

This is a beginner-level course will wean you off Microsoft Publisher and teach you the basis of Adobe InDesign (which is on my to-do list). No previous Adobe or graphics experience is necessary, but they tell me this is a fast-paced class, and you should be familiar with basic tasks on your laptop (how to open, save and organize your files). You'll need to bring your own laptop (Mac or PC) with Adobe InDesign installed on it (free trial on Adobe's website).


LOCATION: HUB Ottawa, 71 Bank Street, Ottawa
DATE: Thu, February 11, 2016
TIME: 1:00PM - 4:00PM
INSTRUCTOR: Brock Murray

This class will teach you how to drive more traffic to your website without spending a ton of cash. Camp Tech will share the tools and insider tricks to help you optimize your website so potential clients can find you faster. Learn how to target keywords, what to include in your content, how to elevate your social media SEO, and how to create good website content so people can find you online. Laptops aren't absolutely necessary for this class, but they recommend bringing one to follow along.


LOCATION: HUB Ottawa, 71 Bank Street, Ottawa
DATE: Thu, February 25, 2016
TIME: 1:00PM - 4:00PM
INSTRUCTOR: Brock Murray

Full disclosure: I'm completely addicted to analytics. My Google Analytics app is always open and I check it constantly, whether I'm out and about on my phone or working at home on my laptop. This course is a 3-hour intro where you'll learn how to properly set up and install get Google Analytics, create custom views, create segments to compare data and configure simple goals for your website. Because if you can't measure your growth, how do you know if you're growing?


Okay folks, you knew I'd hook you up right? It's giveway time! I'm giving away a Camp Tech workshop, and best of all, the winner can choose any course offered in Ottawa! Here's what do to:


1. Like Amy in 613 and Camp Tech on Facebook.

2. Post a blog comment below telling me which course you're itching to try.


3. Post an Instagram pic that shows me which course you want to take. You can even post an epic fail showing why you want some new mad skillz. Be sure to tag @amyin613 and @camptechco, and get double points if you add #takemetocamp.

4. Tweet which course you want to take and tag @camptechco and @amyin613. Double points if you also tag it with #takemetocamp.

5. Share this link on Facebook and tag the Amy in 613 Facebook page in your post.

Contest closes at 12:00 noon on Friday January 29, 2016. Good luck!


We have a winner!! Put your hands together for Greg Swaine, he's the lucky winner of the Camp Tech workshop of his choice. Congrats Greg, and enjoy that SEO course you'd been hoping for!

I'm heading off to camp too (torn between the SEO and Analytics courses), hope I see you there. :)


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