WordCamp Orientations

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When does an orientation happen?

After a lead organizer has applied to organize a WordCamp and their application has been vetted we schedule a time to chat with them. This chat is called an orientation. If any questions or concerns arose during vetting that would better be discussed face-to-face and voice-to-voice we could more formally call this meeting an interview and orientation. This meeting must happen with the lead organizer (and their team if they like) for every WordCamp each year. The meeting must take place before the WordCamp site is set up and the event is moved to “Pre-Planning”.

Why do we hold orientations?

The idea behind an orientation is to talk over WordCamp guidelines, expectations, and recommended practices so that every organizer understands the community expectations for WordCamps, which are official events for the WordPress open source project. It is also a time for organizer to learn what tools are available. Since our tools and expectations change periodically, even repeat organizers are asked to participate in an orientation every year. It’s also a good time for us to get a sense of what kind of event is being planned, to steer organizers in the right direction, and for us to be certain they understand our guidelines and expectations. This helps to prevent problems before they arise by arming our organizing teams with the knowledge they need to create an event that is right for their local community while still in keeping with the program philosophy.

Getting the conversation started.

Before you jump into the provided script, start the conversation by asking them to tell you a bit about their involvement the WordPress community. It’s good to get a feel for their level of experience in events as well as what it is they do with WordPress. Take notes, this is an excellent time to find out what kind of event they’re planning, and if they’re planning to do something that doesn’t match program guidelines it’s an opportunity to help them form an event that does fall into the guidelines of the WordPress open source project.

Questions we commonly ask

  • How did you get started with WordPress?
  • What’s your involvement in your local Meetup group?
  • What kind of events does your meetup group hold?
  • How have you been involved in past WordCamps?
  • What were the best things about last year’s event?
  • What are you planning to change for this year?

Leading an orientation, step-by-step.

Just as every organizer (and team) will be different, every orientation will be different. Some folks will sit silently and listen, others will take detailed notes, still others will have questions at every turn. We provide you with a script but you should pause or slow down as needed and adapt to the participant(s)’ style(s) of learning as best you can. Some people learn best when they can read and review information on their own.

Start at the beginning of the script. Pause for questions at the end of each section. And when you come to the end stop.

Make sure you give the organizer(s) one more chance to ask questions on anything you addressed.

It can be helpful at the end of the scripted portion to offer to send an applicant the text of the orientation script over Slack or email when you feel there might be a language barrier, or when the organizer asks more than once for you to repeat some segment of the script.

Script for WordCamp orientations can be found on Community Team Deputy handbook.

Wrapping up

When you’ve shared all the program information and answered any questions they may have, it’s time to say “thank you!” This program wouldn’t be possible without the hard work and initiative of our community of organizers. Tell them how much their efforts are appreciated, and let them know that they can reach out to us at any time, either on Slack or by emailing support@wordcamp.org

Next steps for you

  • Send the organizer agreement via HelloSign.
  • Send them a link to the WordCamp Organizer Handbook via Slack or email
  • Update the WordCamp’s status to “Approved for Pre-Planning Pending Agreement”
  • Once the organizer agreement has been signed set up their site, email, email forwarding, and Polldaddy account then change the WordCamp’s status to “Pre-Planning”
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