My Experience as Lead Organizer for WordCamp 2015

After months of tireless planning and preparations, the long awaited WordCamp Nepal 2015 is now over. November 21, 2015 was the result of hard work and perseverance of many dedicated organizers and volunteers. Despite unfavorable external factors — the earthquake and fuel shortages — WordCamp Nepal 2015 was a grand success.

This was the first WordCamp in which I was a lead organizer and the fourth to which I provided assistance. It was an incredibly fulfilling experience but I’d be lying if I said it was easy. It takes a lot of work to plan and make sure all the parts of WordCamp are moving smoothly. I owe a huge gratitude to all of the organizers, sponsors and volunteers. None of that would have been possible without their support and dedication.

For me, taking on the role of Lead Organizer was a-coming. I have been actively involved in the WordPress community of Nepal, as a founding member, and had been doing my part in running the WordCamp since its early days. My company, Catch Themes, has been a sponsor in all of the WordCamps till 2014, and I have been a speaker at all WordCamps. But this year, things were a bit different. The Great Earthquake of April 25 had shaken all of our hearts and minds and the on-going fuel crisis… these things really made us rethink our decision to organize a WordCamp this year.

It wasn’t until a month ago that we made the decision to go ahead with WordCamp Nepal 2015. But the timing was as such that other active members of the community were not able to commit their full attention to it. So, I had to step up.

We were quite worried that we would not get enough attendees, sponsors or assisting organizers. However, the turnout exceeded my expectations, all the slots for sponsors got filled in a short time, and we even had the opportunity to welcome a foreign speaker from Automattic, Bryce Adams.

We tried to do things a little differently this year, and added hands-on workshops, so even those with a high level of technical skills could benefit. The feedback forms show that most attendees got a lot out of the day, and I can safely say that the program was a hit.

Now that this WordCamp is over, I am looking forward to the upcoming WordCamp US – Philadelphia which is only a week away. In this WordCamp, we talked a lot about our desire to organize WordCamp South Asia. All the founding and active members of WordCamp feel that this will add a lot of value to the WordPress community in all of South Asia. I want to discuss this with the participants in WordCamp Philly and hopefully try to get it started.

I am really pleased by how we concluded the WordCamp. Our international guests, Bryce Adams and Saravanan Sivaraman from Automattic noted how tightly knit the Nepali WordPress Community was. I would like to take a moment to thank my fellow organizers – Sweta Shrestha, Yam B Chettri, Suvash Khadka, Alina Kakshapati, Utsav Singh Rathour, Chandra Maharzan, Ujwal Thapa and Roshan Bhattari – who went to great lengths to plan and operate WordCamp Nepal. Because of circumstances outside our control, we barely had two months’ notice for this year’s event. However, one big learning was that we should try to set the date for WordCamp at least six months in advance. This will allow more people to participate, especially from the international community, which has shown a lot of interest in our work.

We had a lot of great sessions, and I would like to take advantage of the opportunity of having all these great WordPress minds in one place, and bring you their insights here. I am sure those who have been unable to attend the event due to the fuel crisis might be interested in reading key takeaways.