Wow. So much wow. It's BarCamp day! It's Saturday, of course, but a Saturday in October, and that is new and strange and different for a BarCamp day.
The day has gone...swimmingly. I wouldn't say that it has gone perfectly. But what is perfection, really? Perfect things - are they really perfect, or do they just have a visage, a sheen of beauty and order? And underneath they may be chaotic or broken or sad.
But BarCamp...well, it's a disorder for sure, but also a harmony, a rhythm of the day, a chorus of voices, a bouncing back and forth of random occurrences and chance meetings and networks colliding and intersecting.
It is the perfect intersection of community and chaos, and that's why I love it so much. We sold out last night - over and out actually, with 511 tickets sold. As of this morning at 9:45am, the room was mostly full of people wearing grey BarCamp shirts and drinking coffee and eating bacon and I got to look out over it all and soak it in and make my sponsor announcements and relish the fact that this day was made by us.
The six of us worked for months to make today a reality, and I am so thankful to be a part of that. It's so joyful and beautiful to wake up before dawn on this fall day to truck to Wharton to setup tables and then floor stands and whiteboards and paper signs and food and coffee and the Board and the schedule, and this year, the mic and speakers and the BCP10 crafting room in the drum.
And then, just before we're ACTUALLY ready, the steady flow of people entering the forum, with energy and excitement, figuring out what they're going to talk about, seeing people they haven't seen in a long time, hugging, talking, catching up, eating breakfast.
It's energizing and thrilling and even though I spend most of the morning running around, fixing things, it's wonderful to just be here., to be surrounded by all of this positivity.
I was at lunch today with Dylan, sitting next to a group of BarCamp attendees. We had introduced ourselves in the beginning when we sat down, but we were definitely having our own conversation and were kind of in our own little world. But of course, half my ear was eavesdropping on their conversation about movies and TV, and then eventually, turning back to BarCamp sessions in the afternoon.
I heard them talking about the schedule online not matching up with the physical board and I was about to jump in to tell them that was being updated, but to go with the physical board when in doubt - but they told each other.
And as I heard them explaining what "they" (us) had said earlier today, I knew that is why BarCamp is a success every year. Because the attendees pay attention, they speak up, they inform each other and themselves, they share information and welcome each other into the fold.
As organizers, we just have to set up the right conditions for a BarCamp to happen - make sure the shirts and the food and the name badges arrive. But the volunteers and attendees - they're who makes BarCamp happen in reality. And for them, I am so thankful today.
I am going to spend this afternoon and after party taking it all in. Taking deep breaths, eating a little, drinking a little and talking to all of the people who have made an impact on my time in Philly and here at BarCamp. I am going to embrace this wonderful group of people (figuratively, and probably, as the night goes on, quite literally.)
And I am going to count my lucky stars that I found my way here back in 2013, when I was brand new to living in Philly and the tech/meetup scene.
Thanks Michelle for bringing me to my first BarCamp way back when. Thanks to Dave for inviting me the following year to be an organizer. Thanks to Mo, Joe and Brian for bringing me into the fold and entrusting me with something as important as sponsorships and email communications and every little things I've gotten to do in my time here. Thanks to Briana for joining us to save the day with gifs and all kinds of support. Thanks to all of the amazing volunteers who make this day run like clockwork. And thank you - all of you - who have attended BarCamp this year and for the past 10 years. You are what makes this day the best day of the year.