January 2017 Meetup: LadyDevs takeover Code For Orlando!

Pictured: Erin Denton, CFO Co-Captain, spreading peace and volunteerism with Kaytee
Pictured: Erin Denton, CFO Co-Captain, spreading peace and volunteerism with Kaytee

On Thursday, January 19th, two exciting firsts happened. Code For Orlando, a brigade of the Code for America civic hacking organization, held its first-ever Second Open Hack Night of the month at the new lovely Winter Park Canvs. Code for Orlando hopes to continue hosting fort-nightly Hack Nights revolving between Downtown Orlando, and Downtown Winter Park. Secondly, LadyDevs launched the first-ever Takeover meetup. Every other month, we hope to show more lady support at various meetups and events in the community, and we were very excited to make Code For Orlando our first Takeover event.

Also, ohmagorsh was it a blast.

For a bit of background: Code For Orlando (check them out here) is all about creating civic-minded applications for the citizens of Orlando and Central Florida through the use and expansion of free and open data. Their official description:

“Code for Orlando, a local Code for America brigade, brings the community together to improve Orlando through technology. We are a group of “civic hackers” from various disciplines who are committed to volunteering our talents to make a difference in the local community through technology. We unite to improve the way the community, visitors, and local government experience Orlando.”

Erin, Co-Captain, hopes that “hosting a meeting outside of downtown, and on a different day of the week from our first meeting, will make us more accessible to folks who can’t come downtown.” With parking right across the street and

The Orlando Lady Developers Group (or LadyDevs), as always, works to increase women’s influence in Orlando’s tech industries through recognition, connection, mentorship, and community service; the more women are involved in building the technologies that shape our culture, the more inclusive our culture becomes! And after incredible community support and the success of the Make Day hackathon event in our first year, we knew we wanted to start supporting and facilitating our members in exploring more of what the tech scene in Orlando has to offer. With all this in mind, Lady Devs was thrilled to crash and support the first CFO Winter Park Hack Night for our first Takeover event.

The event took place in Canvs Co-working space in Winter Park. Not only is there free parking right across the street (booya) but the space itself was beautiful and open, and wonderfully facilitated collaborating in small or big groups, as well as roaming around to learn more about everyone’s projects.

A crowd of about 40 people flowed in, grabbing sandwiches, name tags and some small talk with friends and collaborators on their way in. The gentle echo of Galaga from the wall of vintage arcade games served as our backdrop.

Pictured: Civic Coding to Galaga theme music
Pictured: Civic Coding to Galaga theme music

Once everyone had milled in and grabbed their sandwiches, Co-Captain Andrew welcomed everyone to the space and described the goal of the fortnightly hack, their hopes for the second meetup of the month, and the decisions that led them to use “fortnightly” rather than bi monthly (which is misleading) or semi-monthly (which is not as cool as fortnightly).

In the onboarding session, Co-Captain Erin Denton welcomed new members and gave some background to the group, and described some of the new projects and clubs being set out for this year before. Maria, who participated, had this to say:

“The onboard session was almost standing room only. There were about 18 of us newbies tuning in on what Code for Orlando was about. The four board members were also a part of the estimated 18 headcount. We each introduced ourselves and bragged about what we did and could do. Erin explained a project about creating an application that will automate the use of information on road closures within the city of Orlando. Her counterpart explained about a project involving the tracking of how many trees are planted through the use of the tree giveaway program with Orange County.”

Pictured: Code Hangar Intern and CFO regulars making Orlando the best/easiest place to adopt a puppy.
Pictured: Code Hangar Intern and CFO regulars making Orlando the best/easiest place to adopt a puppy.

“The people in attendance came in all shapes forms and fashion. Some were searching for coding companionship. One young guy just wanted to come hang out with techy people since he had recently graduated. There was even a participant who wanted to recruit a few volunteers. In all it was very interesting and well organized.” -Maria M.

It’s a powerful thing to watch a room full of people passionate about making the world a better place come to life and collaborate, let alone be privileged enough to take part. Hands-down the main event in everyone’s mind was to reach out, to collaborate, to share the story of their project and invite everyone to come and be a part of that story. To get their hands dirty and just do some coding for Orlando.

Pictured: Collaboration for civic do-gooding.
Pictured: Collaboration for civic do-gooding.
Pictured: CFO Delivery Lead Michael, probably talking about data
Pictured: CFO Delivery Lead Michael, probably talking about data
Pictured: Math Nerds/Community Volunteers
Pictured: Math Nerds/Community Volunteers

All in all, an amazing night.
Huge thanks to the Code for Orlando for such a warm welcome into your meetup space. Also, you fed us, so hope you’re all prepared to receive our eternal love (because you’re getting it).  Huge thanks also to Canvs Winter Park for hosting Code for Orlando and LadyDevs in your beautiful new space.

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