If this blog entry is posted when I think it is going to be, then you shall be reading this just as I am recovering from a rather busy weekend. There are some of you who may remember how, in a previous post, I wrote about being a role-player and boardgamer. Well, I am not alone.
One of the ways that role-players and boardgames get to meet others involved in the hobby is by going to conventions – and the UK has a thriving convention scene. There are conventions every month. Indeed, there are times of the year when there seem to be conventions every week! And the biggest one has just taken place at the NEC in Birmingham. I am writing about the UK Games Expo.
The UK Games Expo usually takes place over three days during the first weekend in June. It is the largest gaming convention in the UK. It is probably the largest dedicated gaming convention in Europe (the Essen Games Fair is bigger, but is almost exclusively a traders’ show), and it is a serious rival to GenCon Indy in the USA. For three days, tens of thousands of gamers come from across the UK and Europe. They congregate at the NEC to shop, trade, meet, greet, with gamer-themed shows, go to seminars and – most importantly! – game. There is plenty of that at UK Games Expo: demonstration games, tournaments, organised play sessions and thousands of seats for people to bring along and play their own games.
The convention does not run itself. It relies on a small army of unpaid volunteers to man reception desks, patrol the trade halls, run gaming sessions, set up rooms … The list goes on. Many of the volunteers are there for the whole weekend, working hard to make sure that the people who have paid to come to the convention have a good time. But, because the volunteers work hard throughout the convention, they rarely get to see what is going on. Still, there is no shortage of people willing to give up their free time for others. The rewards we get (Yes – I’m one of the volunteers) are intangible but worth it. We get to be part of something big. We get the satisfaction of having contributed something to a greater enterprise. We have been the ambassadors for something we are passionate about. We have made a difference.
That’s the thing about volunteering. No matter who we are or what we do, any one of us can make a difference by giving up some of our time to volunteer. Our contribution can be small or large. We can be an organiser or a cog in something bigger. It doesn’t matter, so long as we make a difference.
OMP Admin Note: John Nedwill is a writer, OMP Network member, and a regular #OneMillionProject Blogger. His work can be found on Wattpad.com and in the One Million Project’s Short Story Anthologies published in February 2018.
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