Third Time's a Charm
A few years ago I went to my first actual attempt at a Drupal community event. I was interested in a Headless Drupal training being held in Minneapolis at Twin Cities Drupal Camp. Prior to heading that way, I put out a tweet looking for people from the Chicago area who might also be there and I got a few responses from a couple members of the Chicago community who were involved in this crazy, little thing called MidCamp. Kevin and Andrea, who you may also know as kthull and ZenDoodles, were handing out MidCamp stickers and pointed me in the right direction to become active with local meetups and to start helping out with MidCamp itself.
The first year I was involved, I was little more than someone who just showed up to observe. I had no idea how conferences were run, nor how such a small group of volunteers could put something like MidCamp together. My second year was a little more involved. Because I was working remotely and hardly ever actually in Chicago, I opted for a more day-of role as Volunteer Coordinator and things went very well.
This year, I continued my role as Volunteer Coordinator, and thanks to the other organizers and the wonderful volunteers who stepped up as room monitors, registration desk help, shirt sales, setup, teardown, and all the other things, this was by far the best MidCamp that I've had the pleasure of experiencing, and it's only going to get better.
If you follow @midwestcamp on Twitter, you may know that we had to put our fancy hats in our hands to ask for more sponsors and donations because things almost didn't happen, and the community stepped up as they always do. Yes, there will be a MidCamp 2019. Also something that we weren't too sure about going into this year.
Making Words for People to Listen to
I also did my first MidCamp presentation this year on mental health in tech. If you'd like to watch the recording of it, check both the recording and the slides out on the MidCamp website. Special thanks to Kevin Thull for being simply amazing at recording all the things.
I've done my talk a few times, but this one was different in the fact that I was now doing it at a large event on my home turf. During previous presentations, I would mostly be able to drive off into the sunset and hardly ever see the attendees again. However, this time there was a very high likelihood that I would be seeing attendees much more frequently, and even the possibility that I may be working with them. I'm sure it goes without saying that there was definitely an increased level of stress going into it, but it was also very freeing to once again have my cards out on the table and to have the possibility of opening a local conversation about mental health within the Chicago Drupal community.
The best part was that after my talk was done (which, because of questions and comments, went over the 60 minute session time) people continued talking. Attendees came up to me and opened up about several issues, some of which I had never heard of or even considered. Some questions inspired me to do more research and be more prepared for the next talk, but some conversations got me thinking about issues that I may or may not have (I shall defer to my therapist on that).
Regardless, my main goal for the talk was to start the conversation, and I think that I was able to do just that.
I would really appreciate any feedback on my talk, so if you were there or if you watched the video, please let me know what you thought below.