by Veronica Louis
In the summer of 2013, after heeding the encouragement of a friend, I attended my first WordCamp. I was actually a volunteer, helping out where I could but still having ample time to go to these amazing presentations on all things WordPress. Two years later, one thing leading to another, I found myself being a co-organizer of WordCamp Montreal (WCMTL).
I had already been using WordPress for a few years, to manage sites for clients before attending camp in 2013. In a nutshell, WordPress(.org) is a website building tool and content management system. Yet, it wasn’t until WordCamp 2013 that I became aware of the true extent of the community behind it. Like any camp, new bonds were formed, laughs were shared and I instantly became part of a kick-ass support network. I enjoyed seeing old friends and making new ones at WordPress learning events and social meet-ups.
After volunteering again at WCMTL 2014, I decided to become more involved in this dynamic network and joined WordPress Montreal’s organizing team. My teammates didn’t waste any time putting me to work, asking me to moderate one of the first events I helped organized: a panel discussion on the business of WordPress.
Several events later, and it was time to start planning and organizing the largest annual event: the camp. When people ask about my experience, being part of this year’s organizing team, my first response is always that it was fun. Yes, it was a lot of work, we were 5 organizing an event for 400 including 40 speakers presenting on a handful of themes on three different tracks. Yes, there were times when I wondered where I was going to find the time to complete my share of tasks I had listed, categorized and detailed. Yes, I broke into a sweat when InDesign, the program I used to design the name badges, crashed every time I attempted to create a data merge. But in the end, everything that needed to get done, got done. Working with a very positive, efficient and organized team assured that things would run smoothly. In addition, the great thing about the WordPress community is that there is always someone there to lend a hand and contribute.
And things did go smoothly with a week of workshops leading to two well-oiled camp days on July 4th and 5th 2015. The event was held at Concordia University for the first time, and it was quite successful and there were smiles all around from attendees. Incidentally, it was also my first year being a speaker. I was happy I had the opportunity to share some tips and tricks about file and content organization.
All this to say, I’m grateful, that there are so many opportunities in life to be part of communities (online and offline), and to be able to support one another through our common interests. I’m proud to be part of the WordPress community. And while for the first few years, I didn’t really know about its extended support network, WordPress has brought a lot to my life, and it was such a pleasure to give back to the community this year by helping create a memorable and fun event. Yay for teamwork, and yay for WordPress!