Taking a Look Back at WordCamp Orlando 2016

It’s been almost a month since WordCamp Orlando 2016 take two ended. I joke that we are the first WordCamp to ever be canceled by a hurricane, but I guess more accurately we’re the first to be rescheduled by a hurricane. Because we were far from canceled.

WCORL16 was a smaller, more low-key and intimate camp than our usual affairs. Every year, the organizers have focused on growing bigger and better, but I feel that in doing that, we almost lost sight of the core focus: providing a learning opportunity for WordPress users of all levels and ages.

It’s almost like Mother Nature saw our egos and sent Hurricane Matthew to put us back in our place. And you know what? It worked. We stopped focusing on beating other camps in terms of numbers and focused more on what makes our camp unique.

We continued to nurture what makes us, well, us:

  • Extensive themeing on branding and swag
  • Providing longer-form learning opportunities
  • Networking brunch
  • Utilizing local businesses

I haven’t heard a bad thing about the camp experience from anyone (of course, we haven’t sent the surveys out yet, so who knows!) But for all that happened, the event couldn’t have gone better.

Huge thanks to three of our sponsors:

  • Siteground continued to sponsor our brunch even though they couldn’t attend.
  • GoDaddy paid for drinks at after party to help ease budget stresses.
  • Bluehost provided a ton of moral support and filled four speaker slots.

Also I have to acknowledge our amazing speakers, volunteers, and organizers. Without you all, this camp couldn’t have rolled back a month and still been amazing. And of course, our attendees deserve some recognition for coming out and giving us a reason to have a WordCamp. For every irate apple in the bunch there were 100 amazing apples encouraging us to do our best and supporting our work.

So lets hope 2017 is a less tropical year!

Lisa Melegari
WordCamp Orlando 2016 Organizer