From the initial logo design and site development, to the content planning and blogging, the social media, email communication, the signage, name badge, and program design, and taking care of other event details and errands, for months, Brian and I have been neck-deep in WordCamp planning.
Now that WordCamp Sacramento is a wrap, we’re elated to call the event a tremendous success.
Driving out to the event Saturday morning, I was nervous and excited, and just hoped we’d have a smooth event — and that people would actually show up. We got registration setup, the signage up, and volunteers began to arrive. It was all coming together and it was do or die time. My stomach was doing some serious flip flops.
As people began to arrive and mill around the Happiness Room with coffee, snacks, and waters, they began chatting up the sponsors and grabbing a seat in the track rooms, and it got real really fast. WordCamp Sacramento was actually happening. It’s something we have been talking about for years, and finally it was here, people were here — and it felt really good.
Brian and I, along with our friend Jake Goldman of 10up have been organizing the Sacramento WordPress meetup for about three years, holding a meetup on the first Tuesday of every month. We talk constantly about how to bolster and elevate the Sacramento WordPress community as a whole, how to get more people engaged with the community, and how to encourage other to get involved.
WordPress Has Been Good To Us
WordPress has afforded us the opportunity to expand our business and grow it into a successful boutique creative agency, celebrating its 10 year anniversary this past July.
The WordPress community has supported and encouraged us in amazing and deeply touching ways. Without the community’s willingness to support others by providing help, tools, and resources, we wouldn’t be where we are today. We have immense gratitude for the community and we both feel a deep desire and to pay that kindness and support forward through the meetup and WordCamp, to create the same space and opportunity for others.
And we hope that in the future, they in turn do the same.
WordCamp Sacramento Delivered A Shot Of Inspiration
I remember my first WordCamp — it was amazing, inspiring, overwhelming. I was awestruck at the huge, open community and the wealth of information and opportunity available. I was impressed with the mutual commitments to see everyone succeed, at the giving and sharing of information, advice, and resources. I was inspired and I wanted more.
I believe with Sacramento’s inaugural WordCamp, we were able to do the same for others. WordCamp Sacramento delivered a much needed shot of inspiration in the local WordPress community arm. There was a buzz of excitement and encouragement in the air and we even achieved the number one trending topic spot on Twitter for the Sacramento area.
- For many it was their first WordCamp ever
- For some it was even their first live event or conference ever
- We had first time speakers, and first time WordCamp speakers
- I heard conversations all day about how awesome it was
- Attendees were learning new things and meeting new people
- Some attendees had no idea WordPress had such an engaged community, and were thrilled to discover it
- Attendees commented on how welcomed they felt
- Many people I talked to were excited to check out the meetup
- New people shared that they were excited to be part of this, and to be part of a supportive community of people just like them
- Several attendees expressed interest in speaking and volunteering at next year’s WordCamp and possibly speaking at the meetup
- Appreciation was shown for the pre-event communication, with attendees feeling confident in attending and knowing what to expect
- Attendees were excited to get hands on help with WordPress sites at the event
Yes, WordPress Is Software, But It’s Also So Much More
Working from home, freelancing, working remote, and being on your own can be lonely. It can be isolating. It can be frustrating. It can be really hard.
But then you come to an event where EVERYONE has something in common — WordPress.
Everyone at the event uses the same software but often in wildly different ways and you begin to talk to others and realize that you’re not alone. That others experience the same things you to — the same frustrations, doubts, fears, and challenges, as well as the same happiness, freedom, and desire to do well. You show up and realize that there is an entire community of people just like you who welcome you, encourage you, and support you.
It’s an amazing feeling. It’s amazing that this has evolved out of the mutual use of software. It’s amazing that we were able to bring a piece of that to Sacramento for the day and through the monthly meetup.
WordCamp Sacramento 2015
The event kicked off Friday night with a special dinner organized by Heather Hogan (who also organized the after party) to thank all of the speakers for their time and efforts to create talks for WordCamp. Held at Ten22 in Old Town Sacramento, the dinner was spectacular. Delicious food, an intimate and cozy atmosphere, and great conversations.
WordCamp then officially welcomed attendees Saturday morning beginning at 7:15 am and ending at 5:45 pm. We had 180 people join us for the day, which included:
- 8 speakers/sessions in an Advanced/Developer Track, which was also livestreamed
- 11 speakers/sessions in a Beginner/User Track
- A catered lunch from Chipotle
- Coffee, snacks, and water all day
- A Happiness Room — where attendees could get WordPress help all day and chat it up with sponsors at their tables
- Swag! Every attendee received a WordCamp t-shirt
- All sessions were recorded and submitted to WordPress.tv and all speaker slide decks are posted for download
- An after party at The River City Saloon
All day I just kept thinking, “I can’t believe this is happening. I can’t believe this is real, that all of these people are here, and that they are happy and having a great time. This is everything we have wanted for Sacramento WordPress.”
A BIG Thank You!
Like our local Sacramento WordPress Meetup, all WordCamps are non-profit, volunteer-run, community events. No one is paid and no one makes any money — it is all done through volunteerism.
WordCamp Sacramento 2015 wouldn’t have been a success without the efforts of the organizing team, the generous sponsors (including Bourn Creative), the awesome speakers, the volunteers, and those who showed up and attended the event.
- The Organizing team, including Brian Bourn, me (Jennifer Bourn), Joe Boydston, Jake Goldman, Heather Hogan, William Mead, Jen Meyer, and Emily Buonauro, hustled big time and invested hours and hours of their personal time to put on the event.
- The Sponsors, stepped up in a big way and covered all of the costs of the event, as the $20 ticket barely even covered the cost of lunch and the t-shirt.
- The speakers gave of their time and their knowledge to plan, create, and deliver all of the talks. We were thrilled to have an impressive lineup of speakers, with more than half from our local community, and some even speaking for the very first time.
- The volunteers showed up in full force, helping run registration, monitoring the track rooms, timing the speakers, providing WordPress help in the Happiness room, and jumping in where we needed.
Brian and I both extend our heartfelt thank you to everyone who showed up and participated in the event — by being present YOU helped make this event a huge success.
We look forward to doing it again in 2016, and until then hope to see you out at the WordPress meetup! The details for December’s event will be posted in the next week.
Thank you again!