WordCamp Rochester 2019

There’s a certain magic to WordCamps that is addicting (in a good way). WordCamps highlight the bond of the WordPress community, and I always walk away from one rejuvenated and inspired.

A WordCamp is a 1-2 day event (usually) that gathers WordPress fans together to learn more about WordPress, troubleshoot sites, network and work together to make the WordPress experience better for everyone. I have a perhaps better definition in a post I wrote almost five years ago.

I had never attended a WordCamp as an attendee until this Rochester WordCamp. I’ve been to WordCamps in Hamilton, Toronto, Montreal, Brooklyn, Boston, Buffalo, Rochester, Philadelphia and Saratoga Springs before, but I was always a volunteer, speaker or volunteer organizer. This time wanted to focus of the trip to be on visiting Hudi and Mollie so I wanted flexibility in my hours — thereby not signing up for anything aside from our ticket purchases.

Security  class at WordCamp Rochester

The plan worked well, and we slipped into a site security session in the late morning with no guilt. That’s how these WordCamps roll. Come when you can, leave when you must. Very casual and friendly.

After the session we headed over to lunch where we sat next to a woman who commented on the fact that a European-living relative of hers just got a job at a company called Automattic. She wondered if it sounded like a legitimate company.

Nicholas (my colleague who was also seated at the table), Chris and I looked at her in astonishment. What a coincidence! We obviously were able to assure her that it is, indeed, a legit company. And we love working there so much that here Chris and I were taking our weekend day to self-pay and attend the WordCamp.

After lunch we went to more sessions. I was thrilled to attend an Accessibility session taught by our friend, Trevor (who runs https://coachesoftech.com/). He attends a lot of the WordCamps I attend as well. I’m always speaking or volunteering during his talks so I never get to hear him.

It was worth waiting all the years. So much good information I can pass on to others who are setting up their site during our support sessions. For example, I had never thought about colors and contrast in regards to the fact that we all see colors differently, but there are sites that help us assess our site’s accessibility such as http://siteimprove.com.

Accessibility Session at  WordCamp Rochester.

Mollie joined us for a session then headed home for a quick change. We met again at the after-party, which is always a really great event. It’s a time to make new friends and reconnect with friends we already have. We relax and catch up on each other’s worlds and geek out on WordPress topics.

Automatticians attending WordCamp

Look closely at our earrings. Chris made Michelle a pair like my favorite ones he made me.

Good friends with matching earrings

Our Buffalo and Rochester WordPress friends meet Mollie.

Buffalo and Rochester WordPress friends.

Mollie and I appreciate the way this attendee grabbed some swag.

Mollie and Chrissie with a pretend witch holding swag.

After a delightful day we headed back to Hudi and Mollie’s house. It was so wonderful seeing our friends. I look forward to seeing a lot of them again at WordCamp US.

Are any of you going to be there? Let me know, and I’ll try to find you so we can yak in real time ๐Ÿ™‚

If you are interested in connecting with the WordPress community in general – check out the following:

  • WordCamps – https://central.wordcamp.org/schedule/ – These are small conferences that occur around the world. For a small fee you get a day or two of classes, lunch, 1:1 help with your site at a Happiness Bar (at most conferences) and an after party ๐Ÿ™‚ These tend to occur at locations annually.
  • Local Meetups – This is a free option for meeting others in your area. Generally you learn something about WordPress then get a chance to ask questions about your site.

    You can go to https://www.meetup.com/ for local meetups. These are generally free and meet monthly. You will have to sign up for meetup.com (not our site), but it’s free, and once you are in do a search for WordPress in your area.

Wonderful Weekend with our Kids

Star Greets us
Star Greets us

Crisp autumn colors and sunny skies framed our journey last week as Chris and I headed to Rochester, NY to visit Hudi and Mollie and to attend WordCamp Rochester. The young adults have very busy lives (an opposing work schedules) so we only got a little time of the four of us together, but we embraced those moments and also loved the 1:1 time with each person.

Mollie met us after her work day and showed us around their house they share with friends. Love the place! Especially because Star greeted us, and they had two other dogs and a cat to love on as well ๐Ÿ™‚

Mollie cooks with the dogs at her feet.

After a tour of their garden, we noted the crispness of the autumn air and headed inside for homemade bread and homemade cheese and veggie soup. Delicious!! After that we played Iota and were just heading off to be when Hudi showed up. He had gotten out of work a bit early so we got to talk a bit.

Mollie had to leave for work quite early, but Hudi, Chris and got to hang out for a few hrs in the morning. While I love being able to connect with my kids on video calls, there’s nothing quite like being there in person.

The cat is helping Chris with door repairs. (In reality, she's trying to get him to open the door so she can escape. Haha)The cat is helping Chris with door repairs.
The cat is helping Chris with door repairs. (In reality, she’s trying to get him to open the door so she can escape. Haha)
Chris and Hudi and the dogs
Chris and Hudi have coffee, and the dogs snuggle.

Hudi had to leave for work mid-morning so Chris and I drove over St. John Fisher’s College to attend the Rochester WordCamp. In five years of attending WordCamps, this is the first time I ever went as a true attendee. I was not volunteering or speaking. A novelty, for sure. But the reason I didn’t volunteer was because I wanted the freedom of schedule to be able to work around Hudi’s schedule. It worked perfectly.

After work Mollie came over and joined us for a session then the after-party.

The time flew by quickly, but it was better than nothing. And I’m lucky — I get to go see them again in a few weeks. ๐Ÿ™‚ Again, Mollie was off to work very early in the morning, and Hudi was leaving for his job around 8:30 so Chris and I hit the road for a bit of a (most amazing) getaway at Niagara Falls Ontario. I’ll write about that one soon, too ๐Ÿ™‚