Drupal Camp Vancouver: Full of WIN!

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Drupal Camp Vancouver was a big hit! After all of the planning, the weeks sped by, and next thing I knew, it was all over. I think the conference went fabulously, and have been getting great feedback from the attendees and presenters, which has been so satisfying! Big thanks to DaveO and Dale who were my partners in crime wrangling all the people, checking over the details, delegating tasks, and making sure everything went as smoothly as possible. And ginormous thanks to the awesome presenters, volunteers, attendees, Workspace (for being awesome), and most of all sponsors who donated their time and cash to make this all happen!

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People kept asking me things and talking to me as if I was one of the Drupal "rockstars" - ie. someone who knows the ins and outs of Drupal like the back of their hand. And although I'm not that advanced yet, it was nice to see that not even two years after going to Drupal Camp Seattle 06, where I first got sucked in, I have learned a lot and am actually able to answer a lot of questions from people who are now where I was then. I think several people were also surprised to see that someone who is not a big contributor code-wise, nor an employee of one of the big Drupal shops was helping organize such an event.

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That is something I really took away from DrupalCon in March--both from talking to Angie Byron, who is a major contributor and currently on the Drupal Association board, and from Addison Berry's talk on how everyone can contribute to Drupal. Both Angie and Addison work for Lullabot, and do a lot of community outreach, and I feel like they helped provide me some much needed direction as to how I could help and contribute even if it wasn't by actually contributing code. So when I noticed that even though there had been some talk of doing a DrupalCamp here, nobody was really taking any initiative to get it going, it dawned on me that maybe if *I* really wanted this to happen, it was the opportunity for me to do my part. After chatting a bit with Dale at the monthly meetups, he was game to take it on, and everything kind of fell into place after that.

I'd never organized anything on this scale before, but was impressed at how much interest there was even early on--I don't think that we had any expectations that it would become such a large event! We had people from here, from the Island, a bunch up from Seattle (who have a Drupal Camp coming up at the end of June, by the way), a presenter from Lethbridge (who nearly didn't make it because of snow in Calgary), and even a couple guys from my hometown of Saskatoon! We also had a great mix of really experienced developers, intermediate users and novice developers, and then people brand new to this all (shout out to the librarians!). Personal favorite sessions (some other great ones were repeats of previous presentations I'd seen, so I've left them off the list), which I may or may not elaborate on in future posts included:

  • Lyal's session on popular modules, which was a great way to start the day, and where I learned about a couple modules I haven't been using but should, as well as rationale behind using certain combinations of modules for image handling.
  • Gregory's session on Panels 2, which was an awesome walk through a pretty complex but powerful new(ish) module.
  • Scott's Intro to SVN session, which gave me an actual understanding of what SVN does and how to use it, it was a total lightbulb moment for a lot of people!
  • Boris' session on Install Profiles, which helped solidify some of the stuff on install profiles that I'd been reading up on and tinkering with in the last few weeks.
  • Rob and Alex get special props for originality and fun :-)

I also have to mention the wrap up session in which Boris talked about where Drupal is going, and then opened up a discussion that covered a lot of ground from community to contributing, to business challenges. The conversation touched on how to foster learning and participation in the local community, which led to some good ideas about cooperative learning and also pointed out the likely need for formalizing some training and certification. Also, talked to a few people about client management and end user training, which may turn into a good project to take on.

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Last but surely not least, I have to give some Drupalchix props to all the super smart and awesome women who attended and presented. Not only did we totally up the attendee ratio, but had five women lead or co-lead sessions. Go Vancouver and Seattle! Whew, I think that does it!  Till next time!