Proposed Event: WordCamp for Organizers

Hello Community team! Recently we received an application for a new type of specialty WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. so we wanted to bring it to the community to make an informed decision together on how best to proceed.

@drewapicture @dimensionmedia and @carolstambaugh  have submitted an application to organize WordCamp for Organizers in Chandler, Arizona, US. This specialty WordCamp would be a departure from traditional location-based WordCamps where the focus is a specific group of WordPress users, rather than a geographical community.

While it’s the first application we’ve seen for a WordCamp for Organizers, this is not the first specialty community WordCamp application we’ve seen. The most recent example is the WordCamp for Publishers focused on the journalism community taking place in Denver, CO this coming weekend.

Here’s the WordCamp for Organizers application (with private contact details and usernames removed):

First name = Drew
Last name  = Jaynes
State = Colorado
Country = US
Attended camp before = Yes, more than one
Hope to accomplish = Inspire people to do more with WordPress, Inspire a new generation of WordCamp and meetupMeetup Meetup groups are locally-organized groups that get together for face-to-face events on a regular basis (commonly once a month). Learn more about Meetups in our Meetup Organizer Handbook. organizers
WordCamp location = dotOrganize – Chandler, AZ
Wordcamp date = February/March/April 2018
How many attendees = 200
Organized event before = Yes, I’ve planned events of similar size/scope
Describe events = Lead organizer, WordCamp Denver 2015, 2016, Co-organizer 2012, 2013 Asst organizer WCUSWCUS WordCamp US. The US flagship WordCamp event. 2015, 2016
Have co organizers = Yes, I have co-organizers already
Relationship co organizers = We’re friends, We met through the meetup group/other tech event, WordCamp organizers
Co organizers = Carol Stambaugh, David Bisset    

Raise money = Yes, I’m cool with the fundraising
Interested sponsors = No direct leads, though there might be an opportunity to tap into organizational-type companies
Good presenters = Yes, I know lots of local WordPress users/developers
Venue connections = Yes, I’ve been talking to people already
Venues considering = Chandler Center for the Arts, various city-controlled venues.
Aanything else = This application is for a topic-specific WordCamp geared to current and potential meetup and WordCamp organizers. We’ve affectionately dubbed it “dotOrganize”.

Institutional knowledge abounds in the organizer community for how to run successful WordPress events and we think a WordCamp like this would allow us to effectively tap into that. Meetup and WordCamp organizers should be talking to each other and sharing their knowledge! This event would also provide a unique opportunity to use the actual organization process as a learning tool in planning future events to mobilize and strengthen the organizer community. With organizers spanning different geographic regions at the outset (Colorado, Arizona, and Florida), the event will benefit from the strengths and experience of each of these different regions.

So, why Chandler and why February|March|April? A few reasons. Holding it in the first quarter makes it possible to preempt “WordCamp Season”, which would be of particular benefit to any WordCamp organizers in attendance. Because the event will be in February|March|April, holding it in Chandler comes with several benefits too, namely the warmer climate and more moderate travel, lodging, and conference costs. WordPress’ long standing relationship with the City of Chandler (via previously hosting wcphx several years) affords us the opportunity to leverage meeting space at a very low cost and in some cases no cost to the conference. Context on the date range: The reason we cite Feburary|March|April is that we’d want to be cognizant of overlapping other events traditionally held this time of year either in close proximity or timing, namely LoopConf (Feb 6-8), WCMIA (March, which affects David Bisset’s availability), and PressNomics (usually April). We’re exploring availability across these three months with our contacts at the City of Chandler.

After a quick pass some immediate questions sprang to mind and it’s our hope to explore them here, before moving forward. I’d like to invite everyone to share their questions, thoughts, and ideas here as well.

Questions for the applying organizers:

What, on average, will it cost each attendee to participate in the event, keeping in mind airfare, hotel, ground travel, registration, meals, etc?

Would you consider organizing this event online (similar to WordSesh) rather than in-person, to make it inclusive of presenters and attendees who are unable to travel (for financial reasons or other barriers) to Chandler, AZ?

How will the presentations and content be vetted to ensure that best practices and expectations of the WordCamp and Meetup program are being shared?

And a question for the organizing team of WordCamp for Publishers:

What unexpected benefits or burdens did you find in planning a WordCamp for a specific group of users rather than for an event for members of a local community?

While those are all important questions, they’re certainly not the only questions. It’s our hope that this post is the beginning of a great conversation. Weigh in with more questions, ideas, and thoughts in the comments!