I don’t know about you, but I’m having a hard time saying good-bye to summer. Luckily, the temps here in Maine this week look like it should make it easy to pretend the first signs of leaves turning aren’t showing up on Autumn Lane. I took my own advice and took plenty of time off to enjoy the season. That meant less time for blogging, which also means I missed sharing some pretty cool stuff with you. Now it’s time to catch up, even if the weather is whispering summer sweet nothings in my ear.
One of the really cool things I haven’t talked about is attending my first WordPress WordCamp. WordCamp Maine was held May 15-17th at the Maine College of Art (MECA) in Portland, Maine. I’m extremely lucky because Portland is an easy drive from my house. I signed up early and with great anticipation waited for the snow to thaw. Which, by the way, took a while since we got a ton last winter.
By mid-May, Mother Nature had done her job and spring had arrived. I was attending both the Friday and Saturday sessions at WordCamp, so on Friday afternoon I made my way to Portland, parked in the parking garage and did a little walking on the old brick sidewalks in the gorgeous sunshine.
Sign in was on the second level of the beautiful MECA building, and surrounded by student art work, you couldn’t help but feel inspired. I met up with an old high school friend and we got our badges, t-shirts and a bit of ‘swag’.
I loved the fact that the schedule for presentations was actually a part of the badge that you wore on a lanyard. The cover had your name and it literally opened up to reveal the schedule for all three days. My badge had me listed as a speaker/volunteer in error (perhaps foreshadowing?) but they promised they wouldn’t make me speak. The smiles and friendly interaction began then and stayed with me through both days.
Day one was short and sort of geared toward WordPress beginners, but I’ve always felt that I could learn a lot from other people even if they were speaking about something I already knew a lot about. I wasn’t wrong in this case. I walked away with a few gems that I didn’t know or hadn’t thought of. It was capped off by a great Q & A session where I managed to get a couple more great ideas before Day 1 came to an end.
Except it didn’t really, because my BFF lives in Portland and we decided it was high time we visited one of the many Portland eateries that have garnered culinary accolades; we chose Nosh. Bacon dusted fries and the smoked brisket sandwich washed down with Downeast Cider convinced us that Nosh Kitchen Bar had earned the praise.
Day 2 started early and I was glad I only had a 5 minute drive from my BFF’s house. Everyone was treated to a breakfast of the infamous Holy Donuts, starting it off on a delicious note. The second day of WordCamp presentations were divided into three types, those geared toward the Power User, the Developer or the simple User. My plan was to mix it up a bit and attend presentations from both the Power User designation and those User presentations that dealt with design. From the “Be a Customer Service Superstar with Customized WP-Admin” to “Triple A Blogging: How to Blog like a Semi-Pro” every presentation I attended offered me new things to learn. And the closing Design Panel was just plain fun while being informative at the same time.
Although there was an after party at Binga’s Stadium , I chose to instead do a girl’s night with my BFF, but I’m sure it was a ton of fun. Next year I’ll be sure and plan to go!
So what was the best part of WordCamp Maine 2015?
The people! It was exciting to meet so many people who are as passionate about WordPress as I am. The organizers were fantastic and approachable, as were the speakers. Sarah Hines inspired me to put creating my own plugin on my ‘must learn’ list, but she and the other women there also reinforced my belief that women can find acceptance in the WordPress community.