Organizing an event the size of WordCamp Europe is a year-round endeavor. The 2015 event is just four months away, speaker applications are closed, and the organization team is already asking for applications for the next host city. So far, the camp has been held in Leiden and Sofia, and will come to Seville in June.
Applying to host WordCamp Europe is similar to applying to be an Olympic city. Local WordPress communities in potential host cities must submit applications, including a budget and a convincing plan. Organizers scrutinize the applications for the following factors:
- Preparation of the budget and venue research
- Strength of the local WordPress community
- The merits of the new location, as compared to the previous year
- Affordability for attendees
- Potential travel difficulties
This year Seville, Spain was selected as the host city after a short bidding process. WordCamp Central requested the event be scheduled earlier in the year to avoid calendar conflicts. This was an unusual turn of events but organizers are committed to re-instituting a public bidding process for all future events.
WordCamp Europe to Pilot New Organizer Mentorship Program
For months in advance, an all-star lineup of WordCamp organizers from around Europe put their heads together, sharing their experiences to plan the best event possible.
“Organizing WordCamp Europe is both a pleasure and a challenge,” co-organizer Petya Raykovska told the Tavern. “What’s great about it is that you get to work with experienced WordCamp organizers from across Europe. Each organizer brings their own knowledge and perspective to the organizing team which makes it a fantastic opportunity to learn and grow.”
The event has traditionally highlighted the diversity of the European WordPress community and its attendees’ eagerness to connect beyond boundaries.
“It’s a challenge because each of us has our own way of doing things and we have to learn how to listen to each other and compromise,” Raykovska said. “And, of course, there are all of those idioms that don’t cross language and cultural barriers!”
New WordCamp Europe organizers should be equipped with a solid grasp of diplomacy and the ability to work with others across cultural differences.
This year the current organization team plans to experiment with a mentorship program that would prepare the next crop of organizers to take the helm in 2016.
“We’re introducing a new process that we hope will help not only find the best team for next year, but will also be a pilot for a mentorship program for future WordCamp Europe (or any large 600+ people WordPress event) events,” Raykovska said.
“So what we want to do in 2015 is choose the team for 2016 and get them to work with us for the 2015 edition, so they can get to know what it takes, get introduced to the processes, work closely with the existing team and monitor what’s required of the local team.”
Current organizers are prioritizing mentoring new additions in order to create a seamless transition from one organizational team to the next. Instead of learning the ropes at the last minute, new organizers will have the opportunity to see how it works without all of the pressure.
“We believe it will be highly beneficial for them and will ensure smooth sailing for next year’s organisation,” Raykovska said.