WordCamp Jackson

When I found out that my friend Kyle Maurer was planning a first time  WordCamp in his hometown of Jackson, Michigan I knew I had to make the trip. I have attended WordCamp Ann Arbor the last three or four years but chose to forego that event in favor of Jackson.

I asked my son Michael if he would like to go with me, knowing full well what his answer would be. I registered both of us on the WordCamp Jackson when tickets became available and signed Michael up as a volunteer.

For people who may no be aware, Michael is 35 years old, works full time at our local Walmart and is mentally challenged.

This is a video I created after our trip to WordCamp Ann Arbor last year.

I can’t really say enough about the people in the WordPress Community, who have accepted Michael and have included him in activities like the WordCamp Jackson Speaker Dinner puzzle games.

As far as the actual WordCamp, everything went very well. We arrived in time to catch a couple of sessions Friday afternoon and attend the speaker dinner. BTW, stuffed crust pizza rocks!

Saturday was a fairly early start, arriving at the venue a little before 8:00. I was assigned the duty of doorman at the front door for the building had to remain locked. This was something that I was well suited for and I have plans to continue in this capacity when I retire in a couple of years!

I was able to attend the sessions that were of interest to me and I gave a lightning talk about the WordPress Community at 2:45. My presentation was well received and I had several questions.

One of my goals for this WordCamp was to try to video interview someone for the WordPress Community Interview Series. This is something that I have been doing for almost a year as part of my volunteer efforts with WordPress TV. I got very lucky and spent about 20 minutes interviewing Cate DeRosia, who is in the process of planning WordCamp Grand Rapids.

The after party had a burrito bar and a Jazz trio! It was really cool!

All in all, WordCamp Jackson was a great experience for Michael and I. Well worth the 6 hour dive from Eastern Ohio. Well done Kyle Maurer and the rest of the organizers and volunteers!

Thanks for all of your hard work!


Because That Is What We Do

After I had related a conversation I had over the weekend, she asked me why I would offer to do that for someone that I “barely” (her words) know. My answer was “Because That Is What We Do”.

I attended WordCamp NEO last weekend. As always it is a chance to catch up old friends and meet new ones too!

During the course of the second day, I had a conversation with a friend who was going to have to prepare a video that was going to be part of a presentation they would be doing on Tuesday of this week. I told them not to hesitate to contact me if they needed any help with their video. Not that I am an expert in preparing videos for presentations or anything like that but I could tell that they were not comfortable with the idea.

The person didn’t call so I assume everything went according to plan.

As I was relating this story late on Sunday after driving home, I was asked “Why?”

I didn’t hesitate at all. Because That Is What We Do!

Just like when my friend was telling me about this project and his unease about trying to create a video for his presentation. I didn’t hesitate. “If there is anything you need help with, I can try.”

Why? Well, this is the WordPress Community, you see. That’s it! No other reason needs to be given. Help and advice are freely offered.

This is what makes the WordPress Community so very special. People of different skill levels can meet, become friends, have honest discussions, eat dinner together, etc.

And don’t forget! This community is global! This is something that I had to get used to. With my volunteering with WordPress TV, I had to learn to expand my thinking. Almost half of the WordCamps held in 2015 were non US based. WordCamp Europe has over 2200 tickets sold (I think). This will be the largest WordCamp to date. So I had to modify my idea of “what WordPress is” in order to  become more involved in my volunteer efforts.