One of the unique ways WordPress fosters growth is by bringing together its global community in a series of international conferences called, WordCamps. These conferences are made up of bloggers, developers, designers, and users whose vibrant backgrounds come together in celebration of all things WordPress. Each camp provides community members the opportunity to collaborate and discuss new features through interactive workshops and sessions.
Are you attending your first WordCamp? No need to fear, the community welcomes first-time attendees with open arms. WordCamps also have a universal way of encouraging the community through educational sessions.
If you’re looking to learn from the best, look no further! Industry leaders are hand selected to speak at WordCamps regarding various topics that WordPress users may find helpful. These topics can range from design and development to learning how to price your freelance work. Attendees are welcome to choose sessions throughout the day based on their needs or interests.
A typical day at camp will start with registration. Here you will be given camp swag and the attendee badge that will get you access to lunch and all planned camp activities. After registering, you should stop by the “Happiness Bar,” where you can go to ask questions throughout the day.
Here’s how we suggest you prep for camp:
Prepare a schedule of the sessions you plan on attending before you head out the door
With so many sessions available each day, planning ahead is necessary to stay organized and get the most from your experience. Check out the speaker line-up on the local camp website before you pack your bag so you can maximize your time and attend sessions that will give you the best insight based on your experience. You can take a pic of the schedule online, write in your notebook, or type it out on your computer so you are ready to hit the ground running when you arrive.
Write down a list of questions for the speaker sessions you plan on attending
After you select an awesome camp schedule tailored to your own educational needs, you should read the session descriptions and develop a few questions you hope to get answered in the talk. Each speaker has time for Q&A’s at the end of their talk so coming prepared with 2-3 questions is an opportunity to get tips from a speaker. All speakers are also attendees and are usually available for some time after their session at the Happiness Bar. The Happiness Bar is an informal and relaxed space for speakers and attendees to interact between sessions. These spaces can vary in location, so it’s best to ask at registration for its designated area.
WordCamps are made up of sponsors who partner with local camps and travel from all over the country to support the WordPress community. The list of sponsors can change from camp to camp, but the love each of them brings for WordPress is always the same.
Create a tentative list of questions for the sponsors who will be at your local camp
Every WordCamp is powered by attendees, speakers, organizers, and sponsors. Each sponsor is not only in attendance to support WordPress, but also to represent their company and provide you with information about their services. If you are considering starting an online store, interested in web hosting, or wanting theme recommendations, these are all questions camp sponsors may be able to assist you with. There is no such thing as a bad question and sponsors are more than happy to help. While you are at the table, you can grab some cool swag!
Pack a backpack or tote bag to hold your favorite gear throughout the day
Idle hands at work? Not at WordCamp. You’ll want your hands free to meet and greet new friends. Packing a backpack or tote is perfect for carrying your laptop, cell phone and the free swag you will go home with at the end of camp. The end of camp is followed by a social event at a local hotspot in the host city, so you want to keep all of your items safe and on-hand— especially if your hotel is far away.
Come prepared with all your classic conference essentials
When attending any camp there are a few must-haves you want to pack to keep you powered up during the day. If you are a traditionalist, like me, and enjoy pen to paper, this combo is perfect for note-taking. A thermos or refillable water bottle is important to stay hydrated all day long.
In our tech-savvy world, many attendees love to bring all of their favorite electronics. These are all excellent for taking notes during sessions, working on your website, or keeping up with influencers on social media. Prepare for limited electrical access with a fully charged power bank that you can access at the drop of a dime.
Last, but not least, a smile and great attitude will help break you out of your comfort zone and meet new friends.
Business cards and a welcoming smile
We don’t like to brag, but our community is made up of amazing people. If you are a business owner or entrepreneur, this is the perfect time to network and develop new relationships. Make sure to bring business cards that you can exchange with fellow attendees and speakers so you can stay connected after camp. Our community loves to expand and collaborate so this is the perfect time to foster those relationships.
Bring an empty stomach
Camps are notorious for having tons of snacks to keep you fueled throughout the day. Between sessions, you can munch on items like crackers and chips or grab a quick drink. A perk of camp is that the change of location and venue means you will always have a taste of local fare from food trucks, and specialty caterers. The organizers work very hard to service all dietary needs so you are guaranteed a great meal to keep you charged up for the day. You can always have candy on hand if you need a sugar boost, but camp has your appetite covered.
Staying prepared for camp ahead of time will save you time and stress so you can enjoy your days attending sessions, chatting with sponsors, and getting to know new faces in the WordPress community. Camps are meant to be fun and informative and planning ahead can help you get the most out of your visit.
Keep an eye out for a WordCamp being hosted in your city, and if you’d like a behind-the-scenes experience of the camp process, sign up to be an organizer. Either way, attending WordCamps are beneficial for any WordPress user looking to unite and grow within the community.
Which camp do you plan on attending next?