In 1999, I moved back to Minneapolis, and began teaching myself about computers and technology. I was self-trained and on a tight budget, and I owe my career to the generous members of the thriving local technical scene. I participated in Linux and BSD meetups, where I learned about server administration from the smartest people I could hope to meet. When I embarked on my programming career, I paid that help forward by organizing a successful PHP user's group. In 2005, a PHP community member introduced me to Drupal, and I haven't looked back.
I wanted to keep giving back. My company, Advantage Labs, began hosting the Twin Cities Drupal User group in 2006, and has been hosting the meetings more-or-less monthy for over 10 years (that's a lot of pizza!). Sustainability is important to me, and every office space and company management decision has been framed around how we can continue to hold a place for this group. It's important to me that new users always have a place to come when they need help.
Over the years, I got a little burned out on work and on Drupal. It's also worth noting that, in the past 3 years, Jeremiah and I had two kids, keeping each at home for nearly a year. I pretend it shouldn't slow me down to maintain a family, but the reality is that we didn't have the time or the money to pay for a sitter so that we could both attend events. Jer has attended most of the meetups, and I've begun to feel pretty disconnected.
And the group has been thriving, adding several additional monthly meetups, and an amazing annual camp. Advantage Labs has been continuing to host and sponsor the regular meeting, but we haven't actively participated in program content or organization. It's hard for anybody to keep coming up with new content, and I'm getting a sense that other organizers are getting run down, too.
We are moving out of Intermedia Arts after this month, and will no longer use that space for meetings. As ever, we're committed to making sure that the community has some place to go, but we won't have access to a larger venue for a few months.
It's a good time for a check-in: there's talk of combining the JAM with the monthly meetup. I think it's a good idea to reduce the overall number of commitments that an active community member makes, but I also think it's important to ensure that new users always have a place to go. Now is a great time to focus on keeping up the good things that the TC Drupal community is doing well, without losing sight of attracting new participation.
Organizers are not available for the 1/25 meeting, and it is cancelled. Jer and I will both find a way to be at the Happy Hour next month, where we can discuss this further. I miss you guys!