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The Importance of Community

briangershon profile image Brian Gershon Originally published at ・3 min read

I discovered the very first CascadiaJS event in 2012 and have made this my annual pilgrimage since.

You come for JavaScript and front-end tech knowledge share, but stay for the community and opportunities to connect with friends. You get to hear inspiring talks, challenge your assumptions, and meet a new generation of developers, designers and entrepreneurs. To me, that type of community is incredible and one I get to experience year after year.

At the 2019 event, I ran into friends I hadn't seen in a couple of years.

What's in store for CascadiaJS 2020?

There are a few events that are part of CascadiaJS this year that are a bit different than years previous. Beyond it being in cyberspace, there are pre-events!

  • July Prefunk (July 15, 2020) -- CascadiaJS is hosting a pre-conference meetup. Tickets are free though if you choose to pay all proceeds will support the Opportunity Scholarship Program.

  • August Prefunk -- Stay tuned for announcement of an additional pre-conference event in August.

  • Conference Week (August 31 - September 4, 2020) -- This week begins with a job fair, followed by two days of conference, followed by two days of workshops! See schedule.

Learning and Growth Opportunities

One thing that is really important to me, is helping others find success in a welcoming community, like I was able to.

In 2010 I made a dramatic shift to JavaScript and front-end development. Prior to that I was focused on back-end work (Python and Django), and then native mobile development for awhile.

For context, Node.js was just entering the scene in 2009 and the first NodeConf was in 2012 at the same time as CascadiaJS began. I has the opportunity to made the trek down to Portland to attend. JavaScript was starting to be everywhere.

To ease (more like leap) into this new front-end lifestyle, I had been attending the national JSConf at the peak of my tech transition, and went for several years. The conferences were fantastic, however they were so popular that tickets would sell out in about 15 seconds.

When I heard of a new Pacific Northwest conference starting up, I was thrilled -- a chance to meet and work with people in our local community.

The Community Opportunity

Fast-forward to this year: I have the opportunity to volunteer as part of the conference organizing committee! So far I have participated in reviewing the talks during the "Call for Presenters" process, as well as helping with scholarships.

CascadiaJS also offers an Opportunity Scholarship Program to make the conference more accessible to a broader group of people. Conference attendees may apply for a scholarship here. If you'd like to contribute to the Scholarship Fund, you can do so when buying a ticket for the conference, the prefunk events, or via sponsorship.

You can learn more about the conference by visiting CascadiaJS 2020 for the speaker line-up, social events, and how to join the community on Slack and Twitter.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to contribute to the Cascadia community, and look forward to seeing you at the events!

Discussion (1)

goshrow profile image

Hi Brian. Could you provide some pointers for those who are to start communities later on. For instance, we are spearheading a remote FOSS event BITSoC in its debut run. And would love to know of what to expect ahead since all of us organizers are undergrad students.

Also, feel free to check out our organization till now. This is more of an hands-on project based organisation but would love if you comment on our apparent progress.

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