I gave a talk at WordCamp London 2015, and at the end of last year, I was contemplating whether to submit a talk for the 2016 event. The dates were announced and I was gutted to find out that it clashed with fieldwork my husband was already committed to. With two children, with additional needs, and no local family there was no way I could go, let alone submit an application to speak.
Then I remembered that I had heard a rumour about a creche. So I tweeted @WordCampLondon to ask. And if any of you know the lead organiser, Jenny Wong, then you’ll not be surprised by what happened next.
As a firm believer in you can’t ask for something and then not be willing to help to get it, I accepted without really considering what would be involved. I thought I would get a few quotes, maybe help vet potential creche suppliers… But once I saw how much work Jenny, Diane, Stef, Ana and Barbara were doing, I just had to volunteer to help with other small tasks.
Jenny’s aim for WordCamp London was to make it as accessible as possible and I was delighted that the creche fell under accessibility – to make it easier for parents to attend. Even though, in the end, I didn’t use the creche because my husband’s fieldwork ended early, I felt it was an important statement to make and, in part, to demonstrate that all are welcome.
Was the creche used? Yes, we had one baby come and stay for the two days, one other came to look but decided he’d rather come along to the talks (it was a tough decision), and a few parents came to have a look around the creche, provided by Nipperbout, for future reference.
It wasn’t plain sailing though. In March I went down with labyrinthitis (an inner ear inflammation that results in the sensation that everything is moving and spinning) which meant I simply couldn’t work, for four weeks. I just managed to stay on top of the few things I was responsible for but not much else. I am immensely grateful that the organising team demanded that I rest and not stress about it, and relieved that Gary and Tammie came on board to organise the contributor day and stickers.
Fortunately, I was well enough to attend WordCamp London, and help the organising team and volunteers run the event. It was a blast!
The highlight has got to be meeting Wapuu! I kept missing Wapuu’s appearances and was delighted to see Wapuu came to wave us goodbye at the end of the event. A huge thank-you to 34SP.com for enabling Wapuu to attend WordCamp London 2016.
I attended a few great sessions:
- Building An Innovative WordPress Agency: Moove’s 5 Year Journey
- Transients Are Good For You (And Your Website)
- Recruiting For Your Business Panel
- Core Q&A Panel
- What I’d Do Differently If I Freelanced Again
- Accessibility Panel
And I look forward to the videos of the sessions I missed.
WordCamp London 2016 was all about talking to people. Wearing a Localhost t-shirt meant I did a lot of that!
It was great to chat to the sponsors, many of which we already work with, and to get to know them better.
Naturally, we also had a UK Genesis meet up at the after-party, although several Genesis people missed it because they were still on volunteer duty.
I have learnt
- That organising a WordCamp is a massive job. I was amazed at the attention to detail to everything, down to the little things to make everyone’s visit comfortable.
- The commitment of the community – from the organisers, speakers, sponsors and volunteers – who all gave their time voluntarily (and at 6:30am on a Saturday morning!)
- If you want something at a WordCamp, or something to be different, don’t be afraid to ask but be prepared to help arrange it!
- That wearing a localhost t-shirt means you get to speak to more people than you ever imagined.
- The WordPress community rocks! (I knew that already)