A chat about the Spirit of Gen Con, Yom Kippur offerings, and our August Charity Week
It’s the final countdown (do do dooo doooo—)
For many of us, Gen Con is going to be the first time we’re seeing such a large group of people in a while. It’s going to be exciting, it’s going to be fun, but it’s also going to be very jarring. Maybe you (like me) have been practicing what it feels like again to be around people; maybe you’ve noticed that you’re a little more anxious than before or that your social cues feel off when you’re around friends. There’s going to be an adjustment period while we return to our nerd society, but we can help each other get through it. So let’s talk about my two favorite things: mindfulness and empathy.
When I hear “mindfulness,” the first thing that usually comes to mind is YouTube tutorials of people in yoga pants and soothing music in the background, but mindfulness at its core is about being aware of your body, your mind, and your feelings. It helps us recognize what’s happening so we can make the best choices to stay safe and happy.
When you’re returning to interactions with friends and strangers (who may be future friends!), take some time every few hours to assess how you’re feeling. If you are tired, irritated, or your mind or heart is racing, this is your body telling you that you should take a break. Gen Con has a quiet room that you can go to whenever you need to reset; it’s located in Room 211 in the convention center whenever you need it. If you think you need a longer break, don’t be afraid to step outside or return to your hotel room until you’re feeling like you’re ready to interact with the world again.
Most of all, don’t feel guilty or hesitate to excuse yourself when you need to. Your health is most important, and we all want you to enjoy your Gen Con experience as much as you can. The feeling of being overwhelmed or anxious is totally normal and you are doing your best when you take time for yourself.
If we could all re-roll the crit fail of the last two years, I think we would; there’s no denying it’s been rough for some and life-changing for others. A core tenet of our gaming world is that you never know the life experiences of someone who is sitting with you and playing a game, and this is going to be more true than ever this year.
When you are interacting with others, playing games, and reconnecting, try to take a step back from your own experiences and be as empathetic as possible to the experiences of others around you — both where they may have been before this and where they are now.
Take the time to check in on your friends too if you’re able. If someone is acting in a way that seems harsh or hurtful, take a moment to ask yourself: what happened to them for them to feel this way? No one wants to be deliberately harmful, and while it’s never an excuse for someone to act poorly, it may provide you with the insight you need to help you communicate with them.
The “Spirit of Gen Con“
We talk often in the office about the “Spirit of Gen Con” — this overwhelming kindness that we see in the majority of our attendees who help each other, donate to charitable initiatives, and want their community to be healthy and happy. We’re so excited to see you all again, but we’re also excited to see that spirit in action. For as much as we may have moments where returning to this experience will feel overwhelming, it also has the opportunity to be healing. The past two years have been a long, hard road where we have been apart from friends, family, and access to the things that make us feel connected. As gamers, we are passionate for the things we care about — so let’s take time to care about ourselves and our community.
We can’t re-roll the last two years, but we can help each other be our best selves at Gen Con. I can’t wait to be there with you.
Yom Kippur Activities at Gen Con
A few months ago some of our Jewish attendees participated in a survey about Yom Kippur events at Gen Con. From that feedback we developed a plan that is reaching its final stages. There have been a few bumps in the road as COVID rollbacks take place, but I wanted to let you know what you can anticipate to see.
Kol Nidrei Meal — A shuttle will pick-up attendees at the convention center and bring you to Shapiro’s, or you can walk there if you so choose. There will be a sectioned area for attendees to gather, eat, and share space prior to sundown for a Kosher-style meal.
Yom Kippur Services — Currently, in-person services are in a state of flux. If in-person services are available, a shuttle will pick up attendees at the convention center and they will be able to attend a reform style service free of charge. If in-person services do not move forward, we’ll provide information for teleservices for attendees to participate in.
Break Fast Meal — A shuttle will pick up attendees at the convention center and bring them to Shapiro’s, or attendees can walk there if they so choose.There will be a sectioned area for attendees to gather, eat, and share space at the end of Yom Kippur.
All these options will be listed in the event catalog for attendees to sign up. We’ll send out information once it’s available via our social media and Discord. Thank you to all of our Jewish attendees and partners who provided valuable feedback and experience!
August Charity Week — Take This!
Our charity for August is one of our charity partners for Gen Con Indy — Take This! They’re an amazing organization that helps bridge the gap between mental health and gaming. We’ve talked a little bit about mental health in previous community updates and Doctor Raffael Boccamazzo (Doctor B to most) recently wrote a blog entry for us about this very topic. Mental wellness in both the gaming industry and the gaming community is a very real problem and we’re excited to continue supporting Take This and their programs, like the AFK Room and the AFKOnline Discord.
You can learn more about Take This here and stay tuned for our announcement on some special guest stars who will be playing to support Take This in the last week of August.
*icon credit: @omoulo