WordCamp Phoenix 2019

It was my first year contributing to WordCamp organizing. I noticed that WordCamp Phoenix put out a call for organizers last summer. Sure, why not. I’m new here, I love WordPress, might as well contribute while meeting people.

I had no idea. These people work so hard. They’re amazing. They think big and do what it takes. Rockstars, all of them.

WordCamp Phoenix Org Team

Planning and organizing the event has been quite an experience. I joked that it was much like planning a wedding: by the end of the weekend, someone is going to get married, but Uncle Bob is probably going to do something embarrassing.

For this event, anyway, the role of Uncle Bob was played by the convention center. Some less than ideal things occurred, but the approximately 700 attendees all had a great time, the sponsors connected with attendees, and the speakers were spectacular. And no one, except the immediate relatives, knew that Uncle Bob was being annoying.

We’ll always remember the convention center stories, but it is far overshadowed by the great learning and social activities at WordCamp Phoenix.

One of my favorite random activities happened after GoDaddy’s Adam Warner posted this picture on Twitter.

Adam is awesome
I think we saved Tim. Didn’t we?

Websites popped up encouraging people to Save Tim with us. And others believed that Tim was not worth saving.

Adam is amazing. I’m relatively new to WordCamps. Adam was, serendipitously, one of the first people I met. I can’t think of a better person to be an introduction to the vibrant WordPress community.

My son Max came to the event and helped with volunteer duties the day before. He was a rockstar, getting things done and making things happen. He also attended some sessions, then was recruited into a special project. Max has always loved film and often made movies with friends in Shasta. He did the bulk of the editing and filming for those projects with his friends.

At WordCamp, he was able to contribute those skills to a super fun, still secret project.

Max and Mark filming a Very Awesome Person.
(Sorry, random person and your Starbucks cup. You’re now a star.)

It was kind of great to have my kiddo around to see what happens at a WordCamp. He got to meet some fun and interesting people, heard accolades from those who worked with him, and had a good time doing something he loves. Guess what? He wants to come to more WordCamps. (Mom’s secret mission is now accomplished.)

I was thanked vociferously at one point in front of Max. He noted to me that the applause for me was pretty loud.

I asked, “What did you think about that?”

He replied, “I thought, ‘Wow, that’s my mom.'”

Someone asked me if organizing WordCamp was worth it. Knowing that my kid was proud of me, if only for a moment, makes the hard work worth it.

Being a teenager is hard. Being mom to a teenager is also hard. Seeing the teenager happy doing something meaningful gives me hope.

Because I was immersed in organizer activity, I didn’t do what I normally do at WordCamps: hang out at the Wordfence booth chatting with customers and lockpicking. Instead, these guys stepped up to the plate and had a great time.

The Wordfence crew lock picking at WordCamp Phoenix.
Photo credit: Machelle Veenstra

I cannot tell you how much I love working with these guys. Each of them brings something amazing to the table, and I’m grateful to know all of them. This photo touched my heart.

Moving to Arizona wasn’t an easy move for me. But the WordPress community here is so vibrant and welcoming, I feel like I’ve found a semblance of home.