Monday, November 30, 2015

Building A Better Community: The Cheerleader

A couple months back I wrote about building a better game community.  I kind of touched on come different ways and things that needed to be in place to help sustain a community after you built it up.  I wanted to expand on one particular topic, one that is probably the most important and possibly the most dubious position to hold.  That is the roll of the community "Cheerleader".

Why is it the most important? Simply put the Cheerleader is a motivator.  He or She is the tip of the spear as it were.  They rally the players and whip them into a frenzy.  Motivating the troops is only part of what you need to do though.  You need to be able to direct the energy of the group into meaningful and productive activities.  Activities that build on the last.  You are trying to achieve a kind of synergy.  You can get people excited about a game and really build on it, but you have to be able to support the fledgling community.

The Cheerleader often has the job of building the terrain and organizing the events.  You are a lynch pin in the community.  That said, once you have the fledgling community off the ground you must foster the next generation of community cheerleader.  There must be redundancy.  You must have others who are as dedicated as you are, otherwise in your absence the community will wither and die.  It has been a pretty long road, but the Firestorm Armada community in Michigan started as a group of disgruntled ex 40K players.  I kind of took it upon myself to start running tournaments in addition to the tournaments that George , aka Spellduckwrong", started running after we showed him the 1.5 edition of the rules.

Neil, aka Dreadbeard, along with Dave, aka SMD_Vogrin, showed the game to me and I loved it.  We started small and expanded.  After a lot of writing and a want to really see the game we all loved expand I stepped forward and decided to start running events at bigger conventions.  I stepped up as a Cheerleader and put a lot of effort into building the community.  I did not do it alone though.  You never build a community alone.  Its a group effort.  Adepticon, UCON, Origins this coming year and even GENCON, would not be happening if we were not working as a team.  The Michigan crew, The Firebase Delta OG crew, we are all working togerther to build a better community.  There is a redundancy in the cheerleaders.  When one of us falters they other are there to step up and take up the torch.

As I said the position of Cheerleader or community leader or even a T.O. can be a dubious one.  You are the face.  You are the one people listen to and take cues from.  You have to be careful with your words and who you say them to.  You cannot disparage other games or people, but still encourage people to play the games.  It can get frustrating and it is still something I struggle with.  Enthusiasm has to be tempered with common sense and forethought.  I know I can get ahead of myself and Dreadbeard has to reel me in and make my logical side take over.  Its a curse of naturally passionate people.  We can get ahead of ourselves and get caught up in our own fervor.  Its important to have somebody or somebodies to dial you back a bit.

When cultivating a community you have to be mindful and make sure the right people are leading it.  That is you must have people who put the community first and want to see it grow and flourish.  It can be a thankless and frustrating job at times, but the pay off is worth it in my opinion.

my two cents while its fresh in my brain.  There is a lot on my mind.  Adepticon and convention season tends to do that.  Thank you for reading my ramblings.  I am very appreciative to the community for all their continued support for the teams endeavors.  We are excited for this coming year.  We have a lot of surprises and awesome things in store for Adepticon and more in the coming year.

Until next time.......

Build the Community and as always....


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