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Organizing Dutch Joomla!days and back to life again

Organizing Dutch Joomla!days and back to life again

The Dutch Joomladays are a continuing success since April 2006. Hundreds of Joomla! users and professionals have attended the annual event since then. On the 2nd and 3rd of April 2011 many Joomla! users, developers, professionals and community members did travel to a central location in the Netherlands to attend the Dutch Joomla!days.

In the modern Conference Centre Kaap Doorn – in Doorn – they met and attended presentations about a wide range of Joomla! subjects.

The Joomla!days help to gain knowledge, share knowledge and help to create successful projects. Knowledge is shared about the development of extensions, tools and improvements of techniques.

How do we get there?

We are proud that some visitors (I will mention no names) told us (and Twitter) the Dutch Joomla!days are one of the best organized Joomla!days in the world. It’s just a hell of a team. We give and get compliments. And even run harder after that.

The organization team for the Dutch Joomla!days is working months before we reach the finals.

The Dutch team consists of nine unpaid volunteers. What we get is the ‘honor’ of being mentioned and share some personal info on the website http://www.joomladagen.nl. The Dutch team is working hard for 300 visitors, sponsors, speakers and employees of the conference center.

Being a volunteer does not mean: do something when you can find time and like to do some thing. Volunteers do have to meet deadlines because the other team members depend on your work. It is teamwork. Participation in the organization means you will get a lot of background information "as we go".

What is well organized? What do these volunteers do?

Every day in these months, we check our group-chat on Skype, we see a lot of versions of documents in Dropbox, we visit our wiki to check our best practices and find example texts to email. We use a forum for discussions. We share (a lot of) documents on Google Docs, and send (even more) emails with Gmail. We also come to see each other five times for a meeting IRL (in real life) to discuss the progress.

  • We write texts for the website, link to other websites and get links back.
  • We advertise on the internet and in print media. We are looking for someone to write a perfect story about the Joomladays.
  • We contact sponsors, contact them again, keep in contact with sponsors and keep them happy.
  • We are looking for someone to take beautifull pictures. We did find someone for smashing videos and we even have a media sponsor for free streaming work.
  • We make a program, we find speakers, we help new speakers. 

We are proud to say that most of our speakers pay their costs for the accomodation and food. We asked speakers to buy a ticket and they did. So, the money goes to Joomla! “Oh boy, did you do all that every day?” Yes, every day. Or maybe one day later, when you come to rest in a sauna or something like that ;-)

Last minute preparations

  • We printed, cut and put together hundreds of badges.
  • We made a system for the give away lottery.
  • We meet&greet on Friday, but not before we build the rooms, fold the conference maps, install the video installation en run with cables and stuff to connect with the internet.
  • We fold the flyers, the programm, the noteblocs to a conference folder.

Did I forget something? Problably I did.

The Joomla!days are here again!

We welcome our visitors, check the payments. We give them information, lead them via the coffeecorner to the plenary hall. We run through corridors, we help visitors to find there way at the location. Smile, point, listen, smile, help, be happy! Happy team, happy community.

We run happily to the rooms to check if the internet is still up and running. We let every presentation stop and start on time. We rest a while on the couch, or in the sun, when the next round of presentations started. It is not so bad at all!

What did we get?

We did get an standing ovation, from our visitors. Before we could even thank our teammembers ourselves, someone stood up in de audience and yelled something like: we like to thank the team!

Oh boy! It hit us right in the soul, we were deeply touched by the applause. All the visitors stood up from there chair, applauded loudly. Oh boy! We had to walk the line, to the front.
You know, Dutch people are mostly silent, they don’t show emotions easily. Even now I am writing this, I feel it in my Joomla!soul and have to wink away a tear.

Thank you, Dutch community! We are proud to organize for you. And next year? We will do it all over again!

Want to experience our Joomla!days? See the video impression 

Did you miss the Dutch Joomla!days? Then visit one of the usergroups, the Joomla!days in miniature, almost every month in your area, usually in the evenings. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, whether you come to get or to share: you're always welcome in the Joomla! community.

“Back to our family life” as Ryan Ozimek said.

I was touched by what Ryan said: these volunteers do a lot for Joomla! and then they go back to there families, they go back to ‘normal life’. We must be a little bit crazy, to be one of that team. Give up family life, delaying work, buy our traintickets and spend some money to be a volunteer. Big hurray for our family and friends who let us do our Joomla!thing, for the community.

Writing this article cost me some weeks, because I was going back to 'normal life' ;-)

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