I hate that my best ideas come to me when I’m in the middle of something else that I really shouldn’t drop.
Like, right now, I’m in the middle of putting together dinner. Chicken pot pies – I’m not the only one that gets tasty benefits in my relationship, last night it was salmon, caramelized onions, fingerling potatoes, and sauteed green beans.
It occurs to me that the only times I haven’t had a blast at a convention were when I didn’t know anyone, and/or I was majorly ill. There isn’t much anyone else but myself and my doctor can do about the sickness part, but I wonder if there is something we can do about the other. Someone, and I feel really bad but I can’t remember who, on the SMOFS list today wrote about watching a young fan come up to reg, ask how much the cost was, and then go back and try to convince his/her (also can’t remember) friends to come and join. When they were unsuccessful at recruiting, the young person and all the friends left.
What if the main reason (not age problems, price points, or panel offerings) young people aren’t attending Worldcon is because their friends aren’t there? (Even if this is the main problem, I am very much aware that it wouldn’t be the only one, and that the other issues still need to be worked upon.) If this is it, is there anything we can do about it? I think there is.
While I was at school, one of my side jobs was department ambassador. When kids and their families came to campus, I would walk around the Mass Comm building with them, usually try to lose the parents for a while and answer the real questions that students had. I’d give them my phone number, friend them on Facebook and give them my email address. If the students decided on Northwest, I usually got a message through my phone or my Facebook account. I made a point to grab lunch with them and introduce them to my friends.
We could do the exact same thing at Worldcons. If and when a new member shows up, they are paired with a volunteer buddy. One of my favorite parts of Worldcon (well, of fandom in general…) is making new friends, and it’s also usually the hardest if I don’t know anyone who can introduce me. These buddies could/would give their numbers to registration and if they are needed, they get a text message or something. There has got to be a program out there that can assist with this.
How can we make this idea come to life?