Organizing a freeCodeCamp Meetup

FreeCodeCamp is awesome – just saying. I’ve been a proponent of the organization for a long time now, and figure it’s time I host a meetup. It’s also the first time I’m hosting an event like this, so I want to share my process.

Since I’m finally moving to London ON this weekend, I figured it was time to start thinking about ways to get involved with the community. It’s sort of funny, but I’ve been admin of the London freeCodeCamp Facebook group for over a year, but have never lived in London.

We’ve had a half-dozen small coffee-and-code sessions in the past, but never anything serious, and never more than 4 people at once.

I figured that it’s time to try and get something happening with this group so I started planning it last week.

It’s been a challenge in the past to get people to show up to these, so I thought it would be a good idea to query the group. I asked how many people would be interested if there was enough time to plan, and what everyone hoped to gain from a FCC event.

I think by asking what everyone hoped to gain, it generated a much better response from people. Of course, it also helps that over the last year the group has doubled in size too – there are just a crap ton more members.

The common theme was:

  • Meeting new people
  • Learning skills to find a job
  • Presentations on programming topics
  • Pair programming

Cool.

At first, I was trying to think where the best place to meetup would be.

From the responses I got in the Facebook group, I kind of felt like the first real meetup we organize should have a presentation to give it a more formal appeal. Since the group hasn’t been established I didn’t really want to go asking around London for a place to host it… but then I was like “wait a minute…”

Where I currently work, RoomRoster, would be the perfect place to host one of these! Why didn’t I think of it sooner?

I hit up the Facebook group again, and mentioned that I was going to ask if RoomRoster would host the meetup, and if so, how many would be interested in coming?

I got a great response. I knew I was going to be able to get at least ten or so people.

So, I got the conversation going at work around the idea, and it was a solid “yes” 🙂 Not only that, but our CTO brought up the fact that if we needed the space he could talk to Arcane above us too – Awesome!

I posted the response in the Facebook group, and set up an official date for the event. At the time of writing, I told the group our max capacity was 12, but we could potentially expand that capacity if there was enough interest.

Turns out we have 14 who say they are going, and 18 interested so far, and we still have two weeks until the date. So it’s likely I’ll be looking at setting up in a space that allows for more people.

Originally I thought the main boardroom would be perfect because we would all have outlets for our laptops and there’s a massive table with lots of seats.

But now, we’ve decided this meetup is going to be a presentation, and hopefully a few short talks, as well as meet-and-greet session for everyone to get to know each other.

Since we’re not doing any coding for this one, I figure we can use the massive space at the back of RoomRoster, and fit way more people. I just have to run that by the execs and find out how many people they are OK with attending this thing haha.

So if that ends up going well, this meetup could be a lot bigger than I originally thought.

Today I started working on a rough layout for my talk. I’ll be working at it in small chunks because I’m also not 100% ready to move on Saturday lol.

The other admin in the group, Jake, is going to be doing a talk too – not sure how long he plans for it to be. We still have to figure out all of the finer details to this!

Anyway, that’s the state of this thing up to now. I’ll keep sharing the rest of my process, and then the results at the end too. Hopefully this becomes some inspiration for other freeCodeCamp groups out there!

Cheers,

Dan

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