WordCamp Incubator update

In February, we announced a new experiment called the WordCamp Incubator, with the intent to help spread WordPress to underserved areas through providing more significant organizing support for a first event. The plan was to select three cities in 2016 where there is not an active WordPress community — but where it seems like there is a lot of potential and where there are some people excited to become organizers — and to help those communities to organize their first WordCamp.

We ran into some staffing challenges after making that announcement, and so we’re both behind schedule and possibly not going to be able to make good on incubating three WordCamps this year. 🙂 But we really want to try it, so the plan now is to incubate two events and intensively mentor one event.

The main difference between “incubating” and “intensively mentoring” a WordCamp will be in the amount of support that the group of local volunteers receive from a community team deputy. Incubating an event will involve the deputy both advising local volunteers — acting as a kind of project manager for the team — as well as doing some of the organizing work on the event, like a lead organizer usually does. Intensively-mentoring will be more project management and involve less actual organizing work on the part of the deputy.

We received 182 applications for this program, and we’ve winnowed down that list to 16 communities:

Denpasar, Indonesia — there’s a local tech meetup but none oriented toward WordPress
Chandigarh, India — no local group
Colombo, Sri Lanka — chapter account meetup, active
Thessaloniki, Greece — no local group
Harare, Zimbabwe — no local group
Budapest, Hungary — chapter account meetup, active
Kalamata, Greece — no local group
Kampala, Uganda — no local group
Kochi, India — non-chapter account meetup, active
Lagos, Nigeria — chapter account meetup which is not active
Medellin, Colombia — non-chapter account meetup, semi-active
Nagpur, India — non-chapter account meetup, active
Nairobi, Kenya — chapter account meetup, active
San Jose, Costa Rica — chapter account meetup, active
Udaipur, India — chapter account meetup, active
Ulyanovsk, Russia — no local group

Andrea Middleton and Rocio Valdivia will each incubate one WordCamp this year, and Aditya Kane as agreed to intensively mentor an additional community that applied for the incubator program. We’re currently in the stage of talking to applicants about their communities and what kind of time they think they can put toward organizing a small, one-day, one-track event geared toward the goal of generating interest and getting people involved in creating an ongoing local community. In May, we hope to announce the three locations selected.

If there are deputies interested in stepping up to intensively-mentor another WordCamp organizing team in a location on this list, please let me know! I think there are more than a few communities listed above that just need extra support (and possibly a better understanding of how modest and uncomplicated an event can be) to organize a WordCamp in their town. I’d love to match a few more deputies up with communities that are excited to try something new — assuming we have some mentors with extra bandwidth. 🙂

Questions? Concerns? Feel free to share them in a comment!

#wordcamps