What are the housing auto-assign rules?

Question

I’m not sure why the auto-assigning put these attendees in those particular housing units. What are the rules that CircuiTree is using to put people in housing units?

Answer

The housing auto-assign process follows three main rules: use age/grade order, keep roommates together, and keep enough “singles” (or people without a roommate) in a cabin to keep attendees from being odd man out. Here’s what happens step by step.

  1. First, the process works through the list (sorted by age from youngest to oldest) and puts attendees in cabins (according to a priority list associated with the housing).
  2. If it encounters a group of roommates, it tries to put them in the cabin. This has to follow two rules:
    1. There has to be enough room to put all of the attendees in (so can’t put a group of 3 in a cabin with 2 spots available–would have to move to the next cabin), and
    2. There has to be enough room to have a minimum of 3 singles (that is, attendees without roommates) in the cabin.
  3. This can lead to these roommate groups being pushed farther and farther down the line of cabins. Suppose, for instance, that Cabin 4 holds 10 people and already has 2 groups of 3 roommates assigned to it. (Suppose also that these are kids who are high school freshman–9th graders.) The next person to be assigned has 1 roommate (also both 9th graders). There’s 4 spots left in the cabin, but if these 2 roommates are put there, there’s only room for 2 singles, and that breaks the rules. So this pair of roommates gets assigned to Cabin 5.
  4. Suppose we started with 10 cabins, but we get to end of the cabin list before we got to the end of the list of attendees (which is sorted by age.) The process then goes back to the beginning to put those (older) children back in cabins. When it gets back around to cabin 4, it might fill those spots with 4 juniors in high school. And now you have 11th graders in with 9th graders.
  5. In the case of a family camp, if you use housing to determine the amount of people who can attend the event, only one family will be pulled into the housing resource, as opposed to multiple families in the same cabin.

The tricky aspect of this is that it’s really dependent on the age of the youngest member of a group of roommates, and that’s usually randomly distributed from camp to camp and week to week. So that’s why it might look fine for most of the summer and then get really complicated for one particular week.