For the month of December I decided to drive off the reservation a bit and celebrate something which means a great deal to me; community. I have been involved with some sort of "community" ever since my early years as a kid. I was involved with the boy scouts, variety of sports, car clubs, my fraternity and of course geek clubs. Now I get to live each of those though my children's eyes.
Each are very different in what the do but honestly at their core they have a lot of similarities. Three in particular stand out for me, they are strictly focused around a similar passion, they are usually all volunteer, and it's all about the people who are involved with them.
Right now, I get to call the Midwest home, specifically across Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. Yea the flyover states. Regardless of where you call home, community surrounds you in a variety of forms. Sure we have cell phones, computers and the awesome internet but nothing can replace actually sitting with like minded people working together. Over my career I have learned more pairing with individuals that on instant messenger or irc. Just because we have the great internet don't forget we're still human.
Every day in December I'm going to highlight a different "user group". I have worked with each of the different community leaders across the Midwest to compile a short post about each. This isn't all of them and they are in no particular order. If I find more willing to participate along the way, we will just keep going. If you're ever in the area feel free to stop one and meet some new people.
If you're not part of some community, I would encourage you to join one. Don't have something like a user group or meet up? Create one. It doesn't need to be anything special or have thousands of people.
I would also ask to make sure you thank your community leaders and their sponsors. It doesn't happen without a lot of effort, money and coordination. A simple thank you goes a long way.