This post by Cathy Theys was previously published on GDO, but she gave us permission to repost it here. So many things in this story to love, from the multi-generational meetups to the start of Global Sprint Weekend. If you have a Drupal community initiative you want to get off the ground, check out the info on Community Cultivation Grants to see if you might qualify for funding.

Thanks, Cathy!

In September 2012, after hearing the Community Cultivation Grants form the DA announce several times on the Drupal Easy podcast, I applied for one and got it.

The grant was for $240 towards starting an all-ages friendly local, contribution-focused meetup in Oak Park, Illinois, USA (which is a suburb just outside of Chicago). We meet at the Oak Park Public Library.

How we used the grant

The grant covered $72 for 6 months of (Our meetup is here.)

Reservations for space to meet at the local library was $20/month. We met there 5 times.

On the 6th month we celebrated with an all day sprint, renting a room for the day at The Art of Natural Healing. The rest of the grant: $48 went to part of the $180 rental for the room.

Over the 6 months of meetups, we had a few experienced contributors, but mostly new folks. Some are regulars now.

  • Oct: 9 people, 2 young
  • Nov: 9 people, 2 young
  • Dec: 5 people
  • Jan: 8 and 3 of those under 18. 2 experienced and a bunch of people newer. 2 first time vopduggers.
  • Feb: 5 people
  • March: 12 people. Quite an array of experience (first time contributors to Drupal 8 initiative lead) and ages (10-60ish). Even the newer people were helping the really new with contributing. Even the experienced (me) were getting mentored! An awesome showing! Write up:



The creation of Sprint Weekend

When first planning the March all day sprint, I wanted more publicity of the event to get some others from the Chicago suburbs and the city to attend. webchick suggested if it were a coordinated event, in more than just one city, that she would tweet about it. And thus: #SprintWeekend was born. You can find Sprint Weekend details here.

Going forward

Going forward we are continuing to meet monthly, but for 4 hour time blocks. We found the 2 hours (plus an optional extra hour for helping people set up dev env) was too short for participants to finish tasks. And I'll be asking regulars that attend the meetup to chip in to the ongoing cost and the $20/month space rental. If an Oak Park office with wifi wants to donate meeting space, contact me. :)

Next meetup [updated April 15]: Sunday, May 12, 2013 13:00-17:00 at the Oak Park Main Library on Lake St. 

Follow @ctheys to get announcements and look for #vopdug

Thanks to Drupal Easy for repeating that the grants were available. Repetition helps.
Thanks to the DA for approving the grant.
Thanks to the Oak Park Library for the low cost room rental.

Cathy Theys, YesCT, lives in Chicago, Illinois, USA and works for comm-press, Hamburg Germany. Cathy has been using Drupal for 7 years, is a core mentoring mentor, and is part of the Drupal 8 Multilingual Initiative.