The Most Amazing Thing Of All
... is I get paid for doing this. I'm not actually paid to run my JUG, but, my company supports my involvement including giving me paid time off to attend the full JavaOne conference each year.
JavaOne is next week and it is going to be so much fun. In particular, I am looking forward to spending time with the other JUG Leaders attending JavaOne from all over the world. I had no idea when I started my own JUG back in 2003 that it would catapult me into such a neat community of intelligent and caring people within the world wide Java User Group Community.
If you ever thought about starting a Java User Group (JUG) of your own, I highly recommend that you attend the JUG Community Panel at CommunityOne on Monday and/or the JUG Community BOF on Tuesday at JavaOne. I don't want to sugar coat it. There is a lot of work involved in running a JUG. For me personally, I am at a point where the rewards greatly surpass the demands of the job.
My advice to anyone considering starting a JUG is to not go it alone. Locally, it is important to find other like-minded individuals to help you build up your local group. Otherwise, it is very easy to burn out. I am so grateful that I found Kevin Nilson to co-lead the Silicon Valley Web JUG. By the way, we are always on the look out for others with energy and passion to join us running our JUG.
Globally, there are many resources available to you through the vibrant international JUG community. The best way to get started is to create a user account at java.net and join the JUG Leaders mailing list. You don't need to have a JUG already up and running to join. In fact, you will probably benefit the most from getting connected to the JUG Leaders community before getting started. You will find the mailing list to be a great source of advice and support.
If you are attending JavaOne next week, I strongly recommend that you visit the Community Corner in the JavaOne Pavilion. You will typically find a mix of JUG Leaders and Java Champions hanging out there pretty much anytime during the conference. Check it out!