A Blooming Community - Lakes and Volcanoes DrupalCamp 2017 Recap
Over 8 years have passed since there was a DrupalCamp in tropical Nicaragua. With the help of a diverse group of volunteers, sponsors, and university faculty staff, we held our second one. DrupalCamp Lagos y Volcanes ("Lakes & Volcanoes") was a great success with over 100 people attending in 2 days. It was a big undertaking so we followed giants' footsteps to prepare for our event. Lots of the ideas were taken from some of the organizers' experience while attending Drupal events. Others came from local free software communities who have organized events before us. Let me share what we did, how we did it, and what the results were.
Lucas Hedding lead a sprint on Saturday morning. Most sprinters were people who had never worked with Drupal before the camp. They learned how to contribute to Drupal and worked on a few patches. One pleasant surprise was when Lucas went on stage with one of the sprinters and proceeded with the live commit ceremony. I was overjoyed that even with a short sprint an attendee’s contribution was committed. Congrats to Jorge Morales for getting a patch committed on his first sprint! And thanks to Holger Lopez, Edys Meza, and Lucas Hedding for mentoring and working on the patch.
Súper contentos de tener un live commit como resultado del sprint liderado por @lucashedding en el #DrupalCampNi2017. ¡Mil gracias Jorge por tu contribución a #Drupal! pic.twitter.com/w9wspKZGUH — Drupal Nicaragua (@drupalni) November 18, 2017
Northern Lights DrupalCamp decided to change the (physical) swag for experiences. What we lived was epic! For our camp, we went for a low cost swag. The only thing we had to pay for was t-shirts. Other local communities recommended us to have them and so we did. The rest was a buffet of the things I have collected since my first DrupalCon, Austin 2014: stickers, pins, temporary tattoos. It was funny trying to explain where I had collected each item. I could not remember them all, but it was nice to bring back those memories. We also had hand sanitizer and notebooks provided by local communities. Can you spot your organization/camp/module/theme logo on our swag table?
¿Cuántos no aman los stickers?
— Drupal Nicaragua (@drupalni) November 17, 2017
Free software communities
We were very lucky to have the support of different local communities. We learned a lot from their experiences organizing events. They also sent an army of volunteers and took the microphone to present on different subjects. A special thank you to the WordPress Nicaragua community who helped us immensely before, during, and after the event. It showed that when communities work together, we make a bigger impact.
Muchas gracias a la comunidad de #WordPress Nicaragua por su apoyo en el #DrupalCampNi2017 👏 Trabando juntos para promover la adopción del #software #libre en el país. 🤝 @wpnicaragua pic.twitter.com/OxPI0U7tmI
— Drupal Nicaragua (@drupalni) November 18, 2017
Two weeks after the camp, we held two Global Training Days workshops. More than 20 people attended. I felt honored when some attendees shared that they had travelled from distant places to participate. One person travelled almost 8 hours. But more than distance, it was their enthusiasm and engagement during the workshops that inspired us. The last month has been very exhausting, but the local community is thrilled with the result.
— Drupal Nicaragua (@drupalni) December 2, 2017
A blooming community
The community has come a long way since I got involved in 2011. We have had highs and lows. Since Lucas and myself kickstarted the Global Training Days workshops in 2014 we have seen more interest in Drupal. By the way, this edition marked our third anniversary facilitating the workshop! But despite all efforts, people would not stay engaged for long after initially interacting with the community. Things have changed. In the last year interest in Drupal has increased. We have organized more events and more people have attended. Universities and other organizations are approaching us requesting trainings. And what makes me smile most… the number of volunteers is at its all-time peak. In the last month alone, the number of volunteers have almost doubled. The DrupalCamp and the Global Training Days workshops contributed a lot to this. We recognize that the job is far from complete and we already have plans for 2018. One of the things that we need to do is find job opportunities. Even if people enjoy working with Drupal they need to make a living. If you are an organization looking for talent consider Nicaragua. We have very great developers. Feel free to get in touch to put you in contact with them.
A personal thank you
I would like to take this opportunity to say thanks to Felix Delattre. He started the Drupal community in Nicaragua almost a decade ago. He was my mentor. He gave me my first Drupal gig. At a time when there was virtually no demand for Drupal talent in my country, that project helped me realize that I could make a living working with Drupal. But most importantly, Felix taught me the value of participating in the community. I remember creating my drupal.org account after he suggested it in a local meetup.
His efforts had a profound effect on the lives of many, even beyond the borders of my country or those of a single project. Felix was instrumental in the development of local communities across Central and South America. He also started the OpenStreetMap (OSM) community in Nicaragua. I still find it impressive how OSM Nicaragua have mapped so many places and routes. In some cities, their maps are more accurate and complete than those of large Internet corporations. Thank you Felix for all you did for us!
We hope to have you in 2018!
The land of lakes and volcanoes awaits you next year. Nicaragua has a lot to offer and a DrupalCamp can be the perfect excuse to visit. ;-) Active volcanoes, beaches to surf, forests rich in flora and fauna are some of the charms of this tropical paradise.
Let’s focus on volcanoes for a moment. Check out this website for a sneak peek into one of our active volcanoes. That is Masaya, where you can walk to the border of the crater and see the flow of lava. Active volcanoes, dormant volcanoes, volcanoes around a lake, volcanoes in the middle of a lake, lagoons on top of volcanoes, volcanoes where you can “surf” down the slope... you name it, we have it.
We would love to have you in 2018!
— Drupal Nicaragua (@drupalni) November 18, 2017
In this album there will be more photos of the event.