Smiling Communities

27 05 2009


Next Monday we are sponsoring our CommunityOne West event, where developers, technologists and students come together to share experiences about open platforms, tools and services. The day is stuffed with over 70 technical sessions, over 40 lightning talks and some hands-on labs. Cloud, web, social media, mobile, operating systems and platforms, and more. And after all that, there are some rocking parties in the evening to light up everyone’s smiles – like the one last year where I tried hitting a piñata blindfolded.

But an event does not make a community – Monday is not the beginning or the end of this technical community. CommunityOne simply provides a time and place for community members to meet and strengthen the work they do together all year round. The work that goes on in community forums on-line (like Sun Developer Network), in local events (like Sun Tech Days), and in the many blogs, tweets, skype-facilitated meetings, and so on and so on, round-the-world, round-the-clock, year-in and year-out.

This past weekend I had the privilege to join a different community at their annual event: the AngelRide. Where over 400 riders and volunteers come together with a common goal: to fund a hospital outreach program that brings joy into the lives of children with cancer. The outreach program is an extension of the Hole in The Wall Gang Camps – a wonderful set of camps around the country for youngsters with cancer to have some fun, to find some peace, and to feed the spirit they need to face their cancer battles. What I found this weekend was a strong, loving, and dedicated community of people who work year round to ensure the AngelRide logistics are seamless, to offer a web site and pictures community members can use to communicate their mission, to sweat and train hard so that the 135 miles of Connecticut hills don’t look so impossibly daunting, to deliver to the ultimate goal – raising the most money to makes the kids lives easier.

While this past weekend’s AngelRide was a beautiful event, the true beauty could be found in the smiles on the Angel rider’s and volunteer’s faces… Because the community once again raised funds for an outreach program that puts smiles on kids faces… And that’s over 14000 kids the AngelRide has smiled upon so far.

Smiles All Around Fred! Smiling Volunteers



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