It’s safe to say that YachtCon: Back to School was an undertaking unlike anything any of us had ever attempted. While we’ve done five previous YachtCons, we’d never attempted to do one as a native-online experience nor had we ever produced so much content. To say it was a lot of work is a dramatic understatement.
Now that those two weeks’ of content are complete, though, I can honestly say that it was also one of the most gratifying projects I’ve ever participated in.
A big reason for that is the work of the volunteers and students who made it possible and worthwhile.
Those volunteers worked to create more than 12 hours of live content that was streamed onto YouTube, replayed on podcasts, promoted on social media channels and written about on this website. That content was consumed by nearly 250 students who registered for more than 500 classes, has been replayed by hundreds more, and remains available for on-demand viewing on our YouTube page.
Along the way, we also launched a line of team-brand clothing, created a beer and basically built an online school from scratch.
I think we also got to know a bunch of Sounders and Reign personalities in new ways, learned some new skills and hopefully had a ton of fun while raising money for an extremely worthy cause. That money — which will dramatically exceed last year’s record of more than $10,000 once we’re done — will go toward buying Big Red Safety Boxes for families with children at the Seattle Children’s Autism Center. These funds are even more needed than normal as the autism center has incurred added expenses due to needing to mail these out instead of being able to hand them out in person.
Finally, I hope everyone appreciates the work of the people who made this all happen.
Full Pull Wines, The Doctor’s Office and The Masonry are the food-and-drink-related businesses that donated supplies and whose owners shared their expertise. Stoup Brewing also partnered with Fast Fashion Brewing to make our signature beer, Craft Casual, which is still available to buy.
MLS Watercolors shared their creative talents and taught their first course ever. Once again, Emily Cummings worked countless hours behind the scenes to help produce and make this event happen. Dave Clark also volunteered tons of time helping out and served as the Dungeon Master for our D&D course. My Nos Audietis partners Aaron Campeau and LikkitP, as usual, did a lot of the heavy lifting that wasn’t necessarily in front of the camera. Collin Stiner designed our poster, while James Morgan produced many of the classes and did a ton of behind-the-scenes work to make this happen. Finally, Beth Mantle, Susie Rantz, Tim Foss, Steve Voght and Jacob Cristobal donated time as moderators, hosts and/or behind-the-scenes helpers.
I also owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Sounders and Reign, who helped us find guest students. Brian Schmetzer, Kelyn Rowe, Spencer Richey, Will Bruin, David Estrada, Wade Webber, Lamar Neagle, Lauren Barnes, Dani Weatherholt, Madison Hammond and of course Garth Lagerwey all were enthusiastic participants.
My sincere hope is that we’re able to return to an in-person event next year, but I suspect many of the lessons we learned this time will be utilized going forward. In the meantime, thanks for supporting us. This has been another reminder of what an amazing community we have here and I feel blessed to be a part of it.