Arxia Summer Camp 2015

13 July 2015 § 1

There’s a pretty exciting summer tradition we have going on each year: ARXIA Summer Camp. Working all day with your eyes pinned down to a monitor can get exhausting, no matter how many interesting projects you get involved into and that is the reason why each year we prepare, for more than 6 months, a 4 day getaway together in a semi-remote area.

It starts off with the difficult process of picking the perfect location, a process into which all team members are involved during our weekly Team Talks. Some like mountains, others like the seaside while a remote few urban city breaks, but after weighing in all the pros & cons and several voting sessions, this year’s location was Baia de Aries – a small Romanian town with a population just a bit above 5.000 habitants. It was until 2004 a mining centre extracting, mainly for base metals, with tourist objectives like the monument of nature tree known as the “Emperor’s beech” and the Muncel Monastery, but also a modest waterfall and the well conserved forests.

DSC09415-4

We rented a van (nicknamed “ARXIA mobil”) as we discovered that it is way more fun to travel the entire team in the same car and we departed ARXIA’s office on a rainy Saturday. It was a 2 hours drive from Cluj Napoca to our host pension Roua Muntelui (translation: Mountain Dew – no connection with the beverage with the same name :)

Day #1 – Arrival
Day one started with unpacking and some leisure time to accommodate with the location. The pension had a great pool, unfortunately we couldn’t use it due to bad weather. After a rich Romanian specific lunch, we played some interesting team building games.

Pool time
We got to know each other by playing “Personal Map” – a game where the team had to guess the life of a specific individual.
A team is nothing without good coordination, “The stick” showed us that working together we can accomplish so many things.
It was followed by a stormy debate about life & dead in the game “Lifeboat” – a game where we had to save people based on their profession.

DSC_3670
All those “serious” team building games called for a bit of unwinding & what perfect way to do than to play the old childhood game “The ducks & The hunters”. Rules of the game are simple, 2 people server as hunters, surrounding the rest while trying to hit them with a ball. Last man standing is upgraded to hunter.

DSC_3795
After a quick dinner it was Quiz time! Colleagues prepared a list of questions from various domains and we split in 5 teams – the team to get the most questions right, wins.
Ending the day was of course with a karaoke party – some colleagues showed their passion to music (and money, try to sing Bruno Mars’ – Billionaire), while others became a bit sentimental on the soundtrack of Titanic.

DSC_3996

Day #2 – Competition day
The day after is always the hardest, but the logistics team was prepared to give a wake call to remember – army style, trumpets & knocking on doors!
A bio-friendly breakfast charged our batteries as it turned out we would need lots of energy & creativity for the Photo Hunting competition. I’d say this is the most exciting game we play each year, we split in teams and receive the same list of items to photograph – from “ducks crossing the street” to “darkness”.

1908191_10206787842873035_6231211693593914921_n
Next game was inspired from Lord of the rings I guess, but we were surprised to find out that some colleagues do have experience or even own a bow – in our “Archery” games. Rule is simple – hit a bottle as many times as possible & your team wins. Not even our freshly operated colleague could stand this game out!
Lunch & leisure time followed the games, but even some pool time as the weather started to improve and our colleagues do love some quality time in the pool.

DSC08938-82
They say coding is much like art, well the next game we had to go through truly proved it. “Movie time” requested that we draw a random topic and in 20 minutes we had to come up with a script & also film it, no props, only the objects we wound surrounding the pension. Topics ranged from politics to showbiz, we would publish the videos, but we won’t want to hard the artistic integrity of your colleagues ;)

DSC08968-94
Our coordination skills were once again put up to a challenge it the games “Ski on grass”. Your team would be tied to the same 2 wooden boards while you “run” against an opponent team & time. A video can be seen on your Facebook page.

What is a camp without some sport? We’re proud to have over a quarter of our team composed of girls, but more importantly, girls which didn’t back out of a “Football” game! Teams fought for the ARXIA cup and luckily no red cards were handed during the game.

DSC09307
Life can get dizzy with summer heat, lots of tasks, errands, but not as dizzy as we got in the game “Jump around”. Spin around a stick 10 times, run 10 meters and at the end drink a beer, all timed. Fastest team not fall / throw up wins!
We ended the day with a Mexican themed party or as we called “Fiesta party”. Everyone had to improvise a mexican / spanish inspired outfit and move their body on some bachata rhythm.

DSC09213

Day #3 – Know each other
Everyone woke up on some Balkan music, thanks to the “wake up” agents – a delightful morning & breakfast.
Our CEO kicked-off the day with ARXIA’s long term strategy – the importance of knowing where our company is going and that we are on the same boat, trying to get to the same destination. Afterwards, we started discovering each team members’ vision of a perfect team by finding top 5 common characteristics.

daniel
“Moving Motivators” helped us discover what motivates us, but more importantly to learn about other’s motivation when working together. Each individual had to rate a list of 10 words related to motivation.
Our cooking skill were challenged in the food contest “Bake a bread”. Each team had to bake a letter of the word ARXIA, but also to make sure it tastes really special. We had to vote the best bread and of course compose our company logo with … bread!

DSC09557
As we got used, we finished the day with a party until the dawn.

Day #4 – Departure
After 3 days in a row partying, waking up in the 4th morning proved to be hard, but not impossible. Everyone started to pack their baggages and we headed towards Turda Gorge for some daytime trail hiking. Turda Gorge (Cheile Turzii in Romanian) is a natural reserve (on Hășdate River) situated 6 km west of Turda and about 15 km south-east of Cluj-Napoca, in Transylvania, Romania. The canyon, formed through the erosion of the Jurassic limestone of the mountain, is 2 900 m long and the walls have heights reaching 300 m. The total surface of the canyon is of 324 ha. Cheile Turzii contain one of the richest and most scenic karst landscapes in Romania. More than 1000 plant and animal species (some of them rare or endangered, like the wild garlic or some species of eagle) live here.

DSC09744

We had lunch at the entrance of the gorge and everyone boarded back home to Cluj Napoca after 4 magical days of fun & new insights.

DSC09418-6

 

Author: Tomita Militaru

T3Rookies @ARXIA

9 July 2015 Comments Off

For one week, our office was the host of 4 young developers from Germany. It all started when Andrea Herzog-Kienast, founder of T3Rookies, contact us to share her idea of rookies in the big TYPO3 Community. The idea was to receive 4 German rookies at our office for one week during which they should work on a TYPO3 project and, doing so, extending their TYPO3 knowledge, but more importantly, experience how it is to work in a team. The project would be nicknamed “T3Rookies Summer Camp”.

We were immediately excited about the ideea and accepted the challenge. In exchange, we also searched for a Romanian rookie to take part in the project and live & work in Germany for one week. Our rookie – Alex, who did not work so far with TYPO3, is involved in a nice project, “Today Software Magazine”, which publishes a monthly magazine and holds events for the programming community from Cluj. We wanted him to have a nice experience with TYPO3 and thus further spread the word in Cluj.

Choosing the project turned out to be easier than we thought because we keep a close contact with various charity organizations that help children from the poor rural areas or orphans & abandoned kids. This is how we met Aksza Foster House in December 2014, our colleagues met the children and we gave them Christmas gifts, but we decided we wanted to help them further. Aksza did not have a website and for them it was important to able to share their message on the internet. So, since we are good in making websites, it was a natural choice to help them this way and get involved the rookies in a good cause.

CIpwsgaUsAAIdcH

We had a great time hosting the Rookies for a week and working together with them.We were happy to see many of our colleagues involved in helping the Rookies with the project, but also in social activities, as the Summer Camp is also a good moment to share cultural experiences, for the Rookies to know more about Cluj and Romania, to have fun, and for our people to know more about the life of a young developer in Germany. Outside work activities included visit Turda Salt Mine, bowling, eat sushi and movie-evenings.

CI2NHVWUwAADXv7

Building a website from first contact with the client until delivery to production server has passed rookies through all the challenges a project faces, from conflicts to the value of good team communication & synchronization.

It was a good experience, it was fun, it was rewarding and it was a success. We also learned some things about how we could organize the camp better in the upcoming editions, and for sure we want to move forward next year and participate in an even larger TYPO3 Rookies program, which hopefully will gather more Rookies and more agencies from all over Europe.