Joomla! New England is one of many successful user groups. Founded by Jen Kramer, Joomla! New England has grown to over 300 members from all over the US.
Joomla! New England was founded in March 2008. Building on experience from being involved in an Adobe users groups, Jen Kramer has helped grow Joomla! New England — in Brattleboro, VT (population 10,000). Initially being setup as a support group for a Joomla! at Marlborogh College Graduate School, the JUG has grown from 10 members to now over 300 from all over the US.
One benefit Jen finds in the JUG is, many people work on their own and being able to attend a JUG provides a place to take issues and problems and get them solved and share their experice of build client websites.
It's all about relationships.
There is a saying “it's not what you know, but who you know” — being active in your local Joomla! community will get you into the “know”. Not only is a JUG a great resource for knowledge, Joomla! New England have become a hub for Website production where the Joomla! New England members have more work so they have to outsource.
As the Joomla! New England groups has grown more and more people have gotten actively involved, and the group is now planning a local Joomla! Day June 5th 2010.
Having a feast on healthy — and unhealthy snacks — the group meets on the third Wednesday of the month the groups agenda always include introductions, happy Joomla! stories, sad Joomla! stories. Happy Joomla! stories are websites that have been launched, problems people have figured out, interesting extensions people have found. Sad Joomla! stories are places where people have gotten stuck in Joomla! But there is really no sad Joomla! story as the group will collaborate to find a solution and make happy Joomla! stories.
How much effort does it take to set up a JUG?
There are many avenues to 'recruit' new members, one great way is to work with a local college or university. It all comes down to marketing.
Another issues that many JUGs face is find a space. Jen suggests in addition to talking to local schools and colleges talk to computer training centers.
Make your meeting happen at a regular, predictable date and time — like the third Wednesday of the month. Don't deviate from your meeting day. But of course talk to your people who show to determine what is most convenient for the members.
As Joomla! New England has grow, it has also ventured into setting up social events and had it's first Joomski during the winter of 2010. Joomski matured as a two day event with one day of Joomla! beginners, intermediate and custom extensions classes and one day of skiing. The event sold out and users had great fun hanging out in the cold, building websites and skiing.
One thing that is unique about Joomla! New England is there are more women attending the meetings than men. Attending the last meeting were nine women and three men.
The members of Joomla! New England have become close friends and hang out as much as friends as colleagues.
JUG website: www.joomlanewengland.org
About Jen Kramer
You can find a list of current JUGs on forum.joomla.org