Last year the WordPress Community Team launched an experimental WordCamp Incubator program to bring WordCamps to new cities where meetups had not been very well established. After receiving 182 applications, organizers narrowed the selections to three cities with the most potential to foster an emerging WordPress community. Successful WordCamps were held in Denpasar, Harare, and Medellín. Six additional communities that applied to the program ended up organizing WordCamps as well with the help of community mentors.
This week Andrea Middleton announced that the Community Team will be pursuing round two of the WordCamp Incubator program. Given the rapid growth of the global WordPress community, Middleton said the greatest challenge to getting the program running again is finding people who can oversee the new WordCamps. The full-time sponsored volunteer staff from the previous year is already fully committed for 2018.
“This is a time-intensive volunteer role,” Middleton said. “We estimate that lead organizers spend about 170 hours on a WordCamp, and I figure that the folks working to support the growth of an Incubator event need to dedicate about 200-250 hours over the planning cycle. The job is that of co-organizer, mentor, and ambassador — since it’s probable that no one you’re working with has ever actually attended a WordCamp.”
Experience having organized WordCamps is a prerequisite for taking on the community advisor role. Middleton also emphasized the importance of sensitivity and experience collaborating with people from other cultures. She estimates the volunteer role is likely to require 25 hours per month. As this is almost a part-time job, the Community Team is looking at the possibility of having interested volunteers pitch their companies to sponsor some of their hours to work on the incubator program. They are also considering creating a team of incubator advisors to work together assisting multiple communities.
The team is aiming to decide on a name for the advisor role and come up with a plan for recruiting volunteers by October 6. This will be followed by a call for communities that would like to be considered for the program and host their first WordCamp in 2018. Anyone interested in volunteering can jump in on the discussion on the make.wordpress.org/community blog.