We're currently planning our fourth NodeSchool event here in Baltimore. And when I say "we", I mean I. I'm doing it. It turns out that delegation and community organization are hard work. Who knew? (I knew, but still.)
Chris Stone knew, too…
Delegation is hard. I was nervous to give work to people I hadn't really met or talked to much, and I didn't respond quickly to those I knew well. Others didn't offer at all, and I didn't find the time to ask directly.
Volunteering is hard, too. Trying to coordinate volunteer energy and direct it into an effective stream of output is really complicated and exhausting, so much so that I bailed before I ever really got the hang of it.
Not to mention this:
I can mentor at an event, when is it?
is a lot different than
I want to help organize this community, how can I help?
Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for those who have turned up to mentor because we couldn't have done the events we've done so far without them. But Baltimore NodeSchool itself isn't growing because the leadership is stagnant, and will eventually burn out.
Community-building is hard.
It's no coincidence that the two most active JS events in the area are run by current or former Message Systems employees--they're one of the few companies in the area that's adopted a JS stack (or at least who've done so and shown an interest in the community).
I'm not sure what the next steps are. I was looking into what it takes to create a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization just for NodeSchool this week, so that I can more easily handle cash flow from sponsors and determine how to give away unused sponsor money to a local tech-related charity (H/T Jed and BrooklynJS). But while clicking through paperwork on LegalZoom, I thought, "Maybe it's time to branch out and change the focus of 'NodeSchool' just a bit?" Like I said, I'm not sure.
What I do know is that I finally made it to a BrooklynJS meetup last month and I was blown away. It's New York, of course, so it's not a totally fair comparison, but the energy in the room and the thought that Jed and Brian have put into the structure and flow of the event was so inspiring, it filled my head with ideas about what kinds of creativity we could apply to the community here in Baltimore. Not just shoving BrooklynJS into Baltimore but figuring out what kind of energy and structure would work here, for us.
Seriously (again), get to a Brooklyn JS if you can.
Like I said. Not sure.
I'd love to hear what people think -- if they think anything at all.
Warning: Comments ahead. Never read them.