February 18th, 2016
WordCamps are locally-organized WordPress conferences that happen all over the world (and are so fun). Sometimes people don’t realize that WordCamps are organized by local volunteers rather than a central organization, and they contact us asking, “Can you bring WordCamp to my city?” When this happens, we always suggest they start with a meetup group, and think about organizing a WordCamp themselves after their group has been active for a few months. We emphasize that WordCamps are locally-organized events, not something that the central community team plans from afar.
This has been successful in many areas — there are currently 241 meetup groups on our meetup.com chapter program! In some regions, though, enthusiastic volunteers have had more of a challenge getting things started. Because of this, we’re going to try an experiment this year called the WordCamp Incubator.
The intention of the incubator program is to help spread WordPress to underserved areas through providing more significant organizing support for a first event. In practical terms, this experiment means we’ll be choosing 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 will help to organize their first WordCamp. These WordCamps will be small, one-day, one-track events geared toward the goal of generating interest and getting people involved in creating an ongoing local community.*
So, where should we do these three events? If you have always wanted a WordCamp in your city but haven’t been able to get a meetup group going, this is a great opportunity. We will be taking applications for the next week, then will get in touch with everyone who applied to discuss the possibilities. We will announce the cities chosen by the end of March.
To apply, fill in the application by February 26, 2016. You don’t need to have any specific information handy, it’s just a form to let us know you’re interested. You can apply to nominate your city even if you don’t want to be the main organizer, but for this experiment we will need local liaisons and volunteers, so please only nominate cities where you live or work so that we have at least one local connection to begin.
Thanks, and good luck!
* For the record, that describes the ideal first WordCamp even if you have an active meetup — there’s no need to wait until your group is big enough to support a large multi-day event, and small events are a lot of fun because everyone has a chance to be involved and get to know most of the other attendees.