My story with PyOhio is one of amazement at how lovely people can be. It’s a big part of the reason Python is and forever will be my favorite programming language.

For PyOhio 2015, I signed up to volunteer, but was unable to afford the drive down to Columbus. I sent out a request on Twitter, and luckily have one friend who is quite spontaneous and decided she would like to to go to PyOhio in a couple of days, too.

This same friend joined me again this year, and brought another mutual friend of ours. Included in our posse were two other women I had specifically invited, causing me to feel pretty proud at this group of people who came either directly or indirectly because of me.

On to what you all missed by not being at PyOhio 2016!

Hands down, my favorite talk of the weekend was Small Batch Artisanal Bots: Let’s Make Friends by Elizabeth Uselton. Her PyOhio video isn’t up (yet?), but you can watch the shorter version from this year’s PyCon by following that link. I took so many notes, and jotted down so many ideas for projects to build. The biggest thing I got out of her talk was:

Intermediate learn-to-coders live in a resource desert. Bots are a great way for the post-beginner to get practice building small applications, and they can grow in complexity. With the lack of intermediate resources, maybe I should create some.

I’d like this blog to be more useful to the teach-yourself-to-code community. This is a great motivation for how I can do that. I can build things too advanced for the tutorial-leaning beginner, and share those experiences and learnings here for other intermediate learn-to-coders.

Moving on! Two other honorable mentions on the talks circuit are Python Logging: An Introduction to Silent Failures by Jess Unrein, and An Introduction to Recursion by Rinita Gulliani. Unrein’s talk was largely new information for me, and Gulliani presented a clearer way of approaching a programming concept that I understand but am curious to understand better and at a deeper level.

Aside from the ideas I formed out of Uselton’s talk on bots, I got another big benefit from this year’s PyOhio.

I realized that the beginner topics were too beginner for me. I was beyond most of the information presented in them. It was very exciting for me to recognize I’m progressing in my knowledge and skill level.

I’ve got to tell you, I was EXHAUSTED by the time Sunday afternoon rolled around. But any time I walk away from something with more ideas than I know what to do with, I’ll say exhaustion is a worthy price to pay.

Speaking of paying, did you know PyOhio is free? I also did a crazy thing and volunteered to help organize next year. You’ll be hearing even more from me then about how you really should give PyOhio a weekend of your time.

Allow me to share one more experience that stands out, and then I’ll let you go. Catherine Devlin is the founding person behind PyOhio. I assume she has many friends in the PyOhio community, and knows a great many “important” people. And yet, come lunch time, she was looking around for lunch partners and I invited her to join my group. I’m impressed when people who have a lot of influence in a certain community are still in touch with that same community in an honest way, rather than getting too important for the people in it. I see the true spirit of python and PyOhio in how she went into lunch without pre-made plans to eat with people she already knew, and instead readily sat down with strangers.

We are all here trying to learn new things and connect with new people and share ideas. That’s why I love this conference!