Wednesday, October 29, 2008

First pyArkansas an Unqualified Success

We are grateful to Greg Lindstrom for the following feedback on a recent successful regional event. Congratulations are due to the organizers.

We held our 1-day "pyArkansas" conference on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas with 57 people attending. There was a surprising mix of beginners (which we expected) and experienced (which pleasantly surprised us). The first half of the day was dedicated to classes; Python 101 (Dr. Bernard Chen of UCA), Intermediate Python (Jeff Rush) and Python for System Administrators (Noah Gift). A way cool perk was that everyone attending the sys admin class received a copy of Noah's new book! The afternoon was dedicated to talks and open space. All participants received a swag bag with a copy of Python Magazine, a GIS magazine, python stickers and other stuff.

We had fantastic support from various employers and the Conway Chamber of Commerce. I am pleased to thank the PSF for your offer of $300 reimbursement and very respectfully decline it; we were able to cover our expenses, provide lodging for Jeff and Noah, and even give them a few dollars for their efforts. We have a grant request in to the Conway Advertising and Promotion Commission for $3,000 for next year. If we get that, the Chamber of Commerce will pony up another $1,500, leaving us with about $1,000 more to raise. Bringing in speakers was very well -- extremely well -- received and we want to expand on it next year, with a goal to bring in 4 speakers/teachers. Modeling the conference as a hybrid between a "mini-PyCon" and an "unconference" makes sense as many of our participants were brand new to Python while others wanted open space.

We got some very nice ink from Dr. John Tabor. It's that kind of response that prompted the Chamber of Commerce to have us submit a grant request to the A&P.

I have a more detailed report written up if anyone would like to see it (or if there is somewhere I can post it).

Thanks for your encouragement and support. Special thanks to Noah and Jeff for making the trip to Arkansas.

Please note that, while we are pleased that this event managed to run without our sponsorship, the PSF Board is always prepared to consider funding requests for events that demonstrably benefit the Python community.