How can I turn an existing top-down "spider" conference into a leaderless, "starfish" conference?

This is my second year organizing a Pay It Forward Conference. This year we should be having between 50-100 middle and high schools all over Long Island participating www.payitforwardconference.ning.com I am afraid that as this conference grows, I will not be able to manage it, nor do I want to manage it because I truly believe that the students and teachers involved are the best ones able to make this thing happen on a national level (ala the way AA grew as described in "The Starfish and the Spider.")

Help. How can I effectively mold the conference this year (May 19th)-to leave behind its top-down shell and move toward a more collaborative approach?

Tags: conference, forward, it, pay, spider, starfish, unconference, wiki

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Two models you can look at are barcamp and Open Space. I attended a conference last year that used the Open Space model and wrote a blog post about my experience there called The people in the room are the right people. That's one of the mottos of Open Space and I thought it was pretty effective!

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