- First stanza, Ode to Joy by Friedrich Schiller
'Tis the Christmas season; a time of sharing and caring, of salutation and thanksgiving. For some it's a time of reflection on the year gone by and the year ahead, while for others it's a time of relief from the busy-ness of life and a chance to re-collect themselves.
I choose to reflect :)
The Umbraco community, I feel, is a unique one with such a diversity in language, ideologies, time zones and backgrounds that I sometimes wonder how we all manage to get along, communicate and collaborate as well as we do. No-where else have I experienced the level of cooperation and collaboration, even amongst what would normally be rival companies - even spanning continents - than I have right here.
I first became involved with Umbraco in early 2009, and my first real taste of this community came a little while later when I contributed some extensions to the Blog4Umbraco package and ended up getting to know someone I now consider to be a good friend even though we rarely see each other - Benjamin Howarth of Code Gecko.
It was Benjamin who first put the thought of attending CodeGarden in my head, and while it took a few more years for that to come to fruition, it inspired me to go deeper. Since then I've attended 2 CodeGardens, and out of that started to coordinate the Umbraco Meetup in Melbourne and Sydney with the help of the local community.
I've made some good friends along the way, and I am always amazed at the level of professionalism, expertise openness and willingness to share and mentor that is so evident in the community at large.
The Celebration of Community
But this is not about me. This post is about you. This is a celebration of an expression of Joy in the Community.
There is something tangible about belonging to a community that helps shape and define who we are; altering the course of our lives and marking milestones along the journey we've taken.
Events such as CodeGarden and uWestFest (I'd love to go and experience that someday), Meetups and Hack days have lasting impacts on our relationships not only with other people but also our work. They enrich and excite us, re-invigorate and inspire.
If you haven't attended such an event or a meetup, or contributed your first package to the community or fixed that bug in the core that's been pestering you in that last project; then can I encourage you to jump right in. Don't worry about getting it wrong, there's an army of volunteers out there ready to support and guide you along the way as you come in from the fringes. We would welcome you with arms wide open, ready to say "come in" - we're excited about the possibilties that you bring. This is a celebration of the potential for the future that you are.
If you've been around for what seems like forever, and have contributed patches or attended events or helped people out on the forums but don't feel like you've made a difference; let me tell you that your contribution is noticed. This is a celebration of your contribution to this dynamic worldwide group of people.
There are those amongst us that are true luminaries - they seem to be always answering queries on the forums; throwing themselves into contributing back packages that make our lives easier or providing advice and feedback - they don't need any introduction because they are such a part of the fabric of the community that we instantly recognise them. This is also a celebration of them - their time and energy put into something they are so passionate about.
Celebrate the future, Give Thanks for the past
So let's celebrate one another. Go give someone a #H5YR or just say hi. Invite someone around for Christmas lunch if you happen to live nearby.
2016 is just around the corner and already there is excitement about the year ahead with promises of some exciting new functionality and improvements in Umbraco, new Meetups, new events - here Down Under we're starting to talk about the possibility of having an Umbraco Festival next Summer.
There's so much potential around, it's hard not to get excited. Personally I'm looking forward to the next Australian Umbraco Meetups in Melbourne and Sydney - I've already got my flights booked and boy am I excited!
So in this time of reflection and recollection, what are you looking forward to? What are you excited about? Who do you want to say "thanks - you rock!" to?
Post a comment below for all to see and be a part of this community!
Robert is on Twitter as @robertjf72