WordCamp Los Angeles, WordPress and You

WordCamp Los Angeles 2015 is coming soon and there’s still a ton that the organizing team needs to get done to wrap things up nicely and ensure a smooth and awesome WordCamp. We’ve got a ton of great speakers lined up just for you. That’s just the tip of the “iceberg.” WordCamps are about quite a few things beyond the great sessions happening all day for two days.

Beyond the value that a WordCamp provides they also provide another unique opportunity. The opportunity to get involved, to put something back into the community. One can do this by volunteering at the Camp as a video wrangler, room monitor, registration wrangler and more. Or, heck, you can also offer to organize your local WordCamp. Organizer and volunteer teams differ in size for each Camp, but they all take on a personality all their own. All you have to do is get involved.

Finding new faces and voices

MG_4611One of the great things about WordCamp is that we get to meet new people who may not necessarily be new to WordPress, but they’re just new to the community. I find this part of community the most fascinating and yet most important. I think it’s critical that we do what we can to encourage and empower our community members to stand up and contribute their own color; their own voice to the community. There’s no shortage of brilliant thinkers, speakers and do’ers. I know that there will always be favorites that people want to hear from and that’s great! I have speakers I want to see all the time, too! But it’s important to encourage and even seek out the next thought-provoker and idea-haver to take the stage.

Think about that for a moment. Are YOU that voice the community is missing? If you have to ask then the answer is a resounding YES! Be heard, offer to speak; offer to share; offer to give of yourself. It all sounds a little cult-ish, doesn’t it? Just be yourself and be heard, let the cult sweep you up in its awesome-ness!

How do you get involved in your local WordPress community?

I’m glad you asked! Getting involved isn’t hard and while it can seem a big undertaking, the good news there is that you can take on just what you know you can handle.

Get involved at your local Meetup
Getting started is pretty easy, of course that depends on where you live and if there’s a WP community nearby. The first thing you can do is offering to help your local Meetup organizers. Just ask them if they could use a hand with something; that’s a good start. Also, just participating in community discussions. Ask questions and answer them, offer to tutor someone who could use guidance. It doesn’t have to be for free, if you have skills they’re valuable and you should bill for them.

Organize something… Anything
I think that one of the great things about our community is that we do really turn up for events. You don’t have to organize a WordCamp. But if you’re crazy enough, go for it! You can organize a Meetup group that meets regularly or, like my friend Jason Tucker, you can organize another sort of related event. He does the Uncompany Picnic locally, which is such an awesome thing to take part in. It provides a place for freelancers and those who don’t strictly work for a company to get together under the sun, eat good food and enjoy the camaraderie.

More than anything else, just show up!
Life, in general, is about showing up. Whether it’s to an event or it’s just for yourself, just show up. That means regularly committing to attending these meetups, make connections and new friends and making yourself a resource.

Pick the brains of incredibly smart people!

One of the great things about the WP community is there is no shortage of brilliant folks that can lend you a hand in a pinch. I think of the guys at Pixel Jar. Beyond them, I’ve met so many other talented and wonderful developers and business people and beyond; they exceed their job descriptions… But surround yourself with as many brilliant people as you can and learn as much as you can.

The Reward for being involved?

That’s probably a whole other post altogether. I started out by attending meetups, making friends; eventually I attended a WordCamp and it changed my life for the better; I sponsored a WordCamp, then I spoke at one, have volunteered at Camps and have stepped up to organize meetups and even a WordCamp. The reward is the feeling you get from putting back into the community and seeing others benefit from the awesomeness of what you produce. It sounds corny but it’s so, so true.

I haven’t submitted a patch to core, but being a part of meetup groups and the WCLAX organizing team has been something that has made me incredibly happy and fulfilled. The first WordCamp was a game changer and I never slept better that Monday morning after.

So let me ask you, dear WordPressor: How will you get involved and make a difference?

 

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