Hey Ken. I would have chimed in sooner, but, well you know.
Before I go into my forthcoming diatribe, I should echo a couple of previous comments...
- Bathroom Situation: Was not an issue for me. The other bathroom was fine as well (though not lit when I checked it out). I was aware of it because of familiarity with the area. I can see how others would have missed it all together if they didn't venture up the road.
- Gear Swap (or any "breakaway" activity for that matter): Since the first one of these I've never known when or where the swap was taking place, in some cases I felt like people were just laying out there wares on their own for whoever was around to check out (less a swap and more a garage sale). In previous years there were some other activities that were "scheduled" but not really scheduled. The info tent was great last year, putting an actual schedule in there and having someone rally the launch of the activities per the schedule would be nice.
Anyway, you and I have chatted a little about the growth and intention of the GGG before, I'll sort of re-iterate here for any open feedback. When I first started coming it was already a decent crowd, seems to be getting larger every year with more family and kids going on. The first one of these I came to felt more... uh, shall I say "pro adult-fun". Last year we had the two camps, one for families, and one for... berserkers?? well, the other one whoever it was for :)
Going forward I think it would benefit the event to unify the vision of what it is. You know I'm very pro-family, but I sort of liked the punk rock version of boozing it up, jumping through the fire, and the naked yeti hunt out in the snow at midnight... thinking back, all of that may have been just me, I was pretty stoned on codeine and Old Rasputin.
I think if this is going to be a family friendly event then it should really be done proper. Safety has been mentioned. Some more organization is needed across the board. It will take a few people to "run it" and a leader to lead them (I think we know that is you, Ken).
Once upon a time I was in a similar position. We started with a small group of adults who had a common interest. Initially we had some casual fun gatherings, fast forward a couple years and growth brought the need for organization. People were bringing their family, kids, friends... there were people in the group who we didn't know, some concerns were being raised. It changed the dynamic for sure. We eventually filed for 501(c)(3) status and were approved. This meant having a Board of Directors, bylaws, meetings and meeting minutes, bank account, blah blah blah. It changed people's expectations of what it was all about (this had nothing to do with the outdoors by the way, another hobby...) which brought with it an expectation that the org would be responsible for everyone at our events, and eventually the question of event insurance, which in some cases was required by the venue.
I'm rambling a little, but my point is: organizing can be a slippery slope. There's something to be said for hosting casual events where everyone is responsible for their self and/or family.
I guess after having said all of that, I would see it as a positive if the official GGG became a family friendly event with more organization, safety, and family fun. At the same time I'd hope that a smaller core group of responsible adults would be down to get together *unofficially* some other time in the year, swap some stories, some gear, some single malt... whatever else, without all the hoopla. I think we sorta do do that already. Well, food for thought.