Organising the first WordCamp Thessaloniki

You may have met the WordPress Greek Community wandering in a WordCamp, a meetup, or anywhere else, laughing, volunteering, having fun, making new friends, and family.

Have you seen the Greekz organizing a WordCamp?

The decision

In 2018, after two successful WordCamp Athens in 2016 and 2017, which have been our very first attempts in organizing bigger scale events, the organizing team of the WordPress Greek Community, in charge of organizing also the local meetups, decided to make a turn.

Since Thessaloniki is a city with a very active local meetup and an amazing community, the team (with not too much thinking) decided the local community deserved to host a WordCamp. At first, we were examining the possibility of organizing one WordCamp per year, one year in Athens, one year in Thessaloniki, later… one year in Larissa, covering all the local communities with active local meetups.

WordCamp Thessaloniki 2018 was born!

Organizing

Organizing a WordCamp starts usually a long time before the date it is held. Having organised already two WordCamps in Athens we thought, maybe this time the job would be much easier and automated, however, this was not the case.

Realizing that a different city means searching all over for everything from scratch, starting from the branding of a new local WordCamp, the venues, and moving to sponsors, speakers, etc., the journey started.

During the whole preparation, we always try to keep every decision open to our community as well as all the steps we take and the ideas that we come up with for everything. Of course, we are always ready to implement new ideas provided by the rest of the community.

There are always tools in order to work. Slack for our everyday communications, Teamspeak for our online meetings, as well as Trello, in order to check all our tasks and Google drive for the storage of our data. Workload and distribution of the tasks among a team make them absolutely necessary. Behind the screens of our PCs, at the end of a phone line communicating all day long, we could make the dream come true.

Team

Every year, the team may have some new additions, replacing people that need to go, due to the lack of free time. This year the organizing team felt like… Snowhite (me) and the 14 tall dwarves (yes this can also happen).

The most important thing is, that during the 3 years of our cooperation, team members feel not just like friends but also like family. That makes the cooperation always smooth and fun, even when we don’t all agree on a subject. Democracy, though, was born in Athens, so after voting – whether you like it or not – the outcome will be the final decision. We all respect that and support it working towards the pointed direction.

It is, definitely, not easy for a team to work always remotely. Thankfully local meetups are not very distant. This gives us the opportunity to gather, discuss, resolve issues, make decisions, and have fun as well as bonding even more.

Preparations

It’s been a crazy 8 months.

It was a rollercoaster of emotions. From happiness to anger, from sadness to feeling full by accomplishing goals. Sometimes frustration, when something couldn’t go as intended and you aim for perfection. Difficulties could arise. You felt tired. But at the end of the day, there is a team standing next to you.

WordCamp organizing, while at the same time we are also meetup organizers, requires hard work. This might mean working another 8 hours per day for a volunteer post that is, of course, not paid. However, when you get at the closing remarks, you realize that this work time has been paid the best way possible. This is reality.

Closing remarks WordCamp Thessaloniki 2018

Organizers do have a life outside of the WordPress Community, but they choose to offer as volunteers their time (spare or not), skillset, and hard work. During this WordCamp, some of the organizers dealt with difficult times, but we made it happen as a family supporting each other. Plus, we also had a newborn baby, a wannabe WordPress girl.

And the craziest day arrived, setting the venue one day before WCThess2018. All last-minute details need to be arranged within a few hours.

However, there is something that I couldn’t forget. The key to every event is always the people. It was not only the organizing team who gave their best shot. We need to applause all volunteers and photographers. At the same moment, everyone from sponsors to speakers and – of course – attendees add value to the event on their side.

Let there be WordCamp Thessaloniki 2018!

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