2010 is rapidly coming to a close and in retrospect this has been a fantastic year of growth for the SQL Server Community. Many well known people have made the move to new jobs. Even more SQL Server professionals have joined the community on Twitter. On the PASS front there have been 32 SQLSaturdays, 3 24 Hours of PASS events, and the "Best Summit Ever". That all these things have happened during the worst economic times this generation has seen is remarkable.
Unfortunately 2010 has not been as kind to others. We probably all know someone who has been let go from a job, has a house in foreclosure, or is experiencing some kind of financial or personal difficulty due to the economy. Food bank resources are lower than ever with more and more people turning to them to keep food on the table. Every day at the Summit I noticed people resorting to makeshift cardboard shelters and begging just to survive a cold Seattle night while I walked to get breakfast or attend a vendor sponsored dinner. Chris Shaw noticed it too. It's heartbreaking to see and I cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like to be in their position.
During the 2010 PASS Summit keynotes it was stated that PASS wants to be looked to for thought leadership. Given the success that the SQL Server Community has had despite the current economic downturn I think it appropriate that we also be looked to for social leadership.
I believe every event that PASS holds should include some way of giving back to the immediate surrounding community. The team behind SQLSaturday #52 in Colorado held a food drive where every attendee that donated a can of food was entered into a special prize drawing. I learned today that SQLSaturday #62 in Tampa (Jan 15, 2011) will also include a food drive. These are two excellent examples of social leadership in action and I challenge every SQLSaturday event team to consider doing something similar.
Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is
As I thought about Chris's comments and my own experiences at the Summit I came to one conclusion: at next year's Summit we need to do something. I've reached out to Chris and he has agreed to help me. We're brainstorming on different things we can do; for example, there's an organization in Orlando that makes care packages to distribute to the homeless which include daily essentials. Maybe we do the same - how much do you think someone would appreciate a gift card for dinner and a blanket to keep warm during the cold night? I would gladly give up a free beer or trip the the buffet line if it meant someone in need would get a warm meal instead. Unfortunately that's not practical but here's an idea that is: if everyone who attended the Summit donated $1 we could assemble 200 packages at $15 each to give out. What a huge difference that could make!
A Call For Your Help
This isn't about politics, race, gender, or religion. This is simply about being socially responsible. I believe there are other people in the SQL community who feel the same way that Chris and I do and want to do something too.
What we are asking for right now is simple - ideas. What can we do to help the local Seattle community at next year's Summit? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.
Of course we'd also love for you to commit to joining us in doing something. If you're interested, let me know by leaving a comment below, send me an email, or reach me on Twitter (@SQLDBA). Whether it's an idea or a bigger commitment, I look forward to hearing what you think.