WordCamp Deeply – WCJAX 2016

This weekend was my first time volunteering at WordCamp, my first time speaking at a WordCamp, and my first time attending WordCamp in my city. [dramatic pause]

Prior to camp, I offered to help for very selfish reasons.  I love WordCamp and I love Jax and I wanted to make sure neither one let the other down. (I’m silly like that sometimes).
I was experiencing the city-wide inferiority complex that we sometimes have here in Jax AND I had high expectations of WordCamp based on my history of camps (WCTPA, WCUSA, WCMIA…all amazing camps).

I dunno why I worried…I know how this community works.
OF COURSE we had volunteers from Orlando, Miami, Tampa, Atlanta and naturally Jacksonville (thank you folks! you sincerely rock deeply!).
OF COURSE we had amazing speakers from all over.  Speakers I follow and respect on twitter, github, .org, and elsewhere.
OF COURSE I learned a ton from nearly everyone I crossed paths with.

So many people in this community are so awesome:
Kathy Drewien did what she does best and reminded us that beyond the code and design and deliverables our colleagues and friends (and soon to be friends) are DOING AMAZING THINGS with WordPress.
Micah Wood stepped up and filled in when a speaker wasn’t able to make it to the event and delivered a super-technical presentation like he’d rehearsed it for just such an occasion.
David Bisset, a WordCamp organizing mastermind/villain, (seriously, the guy was alarmingly comfortable at the after-party in an underground lair) was the loudest cheerleader for the 5 devoted organizers (more on them below).

That’s just the tip of the iceberg!
I chatted with Patricia who flew in from DC to her first WordCamp and is writing her own recipe plugin to get experience writing within WP.
Jim from St. Pete so easily explained post-post relationships in a way that hadn’t clicked for me before.
Beau was extremely complimentary of my presentation and ran around tirelessly shooting photos on Saturday with an aura of positivity around him the entire time.
At the after party Derek and I commiserated over the stress we had felt prior to speaking and high-fived at the news of our average attendee count!
Bruce carries a zest for life and pride in his work that is worthy of emulation by all!

I’ve left out many, many conversations that challenged, educated, and excited me.  So…a general thank you to all the unnamed folks that I met and talked with this weekend.  Your presence and efforts are vitally important!

Finally, and most importantly…Stephanie, Frank, Daniel, Karena, Elizabeth thanks so very much for bringing WordCamp to Jax.  It was an amazing weekend and a breath of fresh air. Thank You!

If you’re thinking about getting involved with your local meetup or WordCamp, don’t hesitate.  I thought about being “involved” until I didn’t have a logical choice…and I wish I had done it sooner.