WordCamps are brilliant. If you’ve never been to one then you should definitely go and find one that’s happening close to you. They’re a great time to learn from some awesome people in your local (and international) community in a friendly and relaxed environment. If you’re lucky you’ll generally also get some top notch food, coffee, swag and an after party to remember.
That stuff is all great to have, but for me there’s an aspect of any WordCamp that is far more significant and valuable than any of that. While I always enjoy the talks when I attend a WordCamp and I always get a lot of value out of them, the one aspect of the conferences that makes me far more excited is simply the community.
I don’t mean that in any metaphorical sense, but rather I’m talking about the real, local and present community. Those people who work with WordPress every day and, in their own way, make it so much more than just a piece of software – without them WordPress would be a publishing platform and little else.
Connecting with this community at a WordCamp is engaging, inspiring, educational and, most of all, fun. Because the community is made of people form any background and every career path, you’re sure to meet some new and interesting folk when you attend a WordCamp. Meeting these people and engaging with them is hugely valuable and, without this, WordCamps would merely be interesting events with little else on offer.
So next time you attend a WordCamp, don’t only go to listen to the speakers or get some free swag, but be intentional about meeting new people and finding out what makes them tick. Not only will you make some new friends, but you’ll find out more about yourself and how you fit into this great community of which we’re all a part.
That’s the true value of a WordCamp.