- gaming hall
- large scale events
- volunteers needed
Otakon is one of the largest pop-culture conventions (and the largest anime convention) in our area. Otakon has consistently pulled attendance numbers of 28-33k attendees, many of whom are in our target demographic. Otakon hosts a large gaming hall in which many unusual, rare, or popular video and arcade games are available for free play to attendees. In this gaming hall, there are also small indie developers with booth space who are promoting their games. This is where our booth will be located.
We will be staffing this booth at Otakon in hopes of recruiting new Extra Lifers to participate in this year's Game Day. Unfortunately, two of our core volunteering team are attending/presenting at the convention and will not be able to provide significant coverage. Since we were unable to confirm our space until the last minute, we are going to be scrambling for coverage. Any individuals interested in volunteering are encouraged to message @Sarah with any questions, or in the comments below. Please RSVP on this page if you intend to help, and comment with which times you are available. Further instructions will be provided throughout the week.
We have secured two badges for volunteers, which will need to be switched off throughout the weekend. PLEASE DO NOT TAKE YOUR CONVENTION BADGE HOME UNLESS OTHERWISE INSTRUCTED. We are in need of volunteer coverage for the following windows:
- 11 am - 6 pm includes booth setup
- 3 pm - 10 pm
10 am - 3 pm includes booth breakdown
- 10 am - 3 pm includes booth breakdown
Please plan on parking 1 hour prior to your volunteering shift. Traffic in the city gets heavy in the late morning, particularly on Friday and Saturday. It may become harder to find a garage that is not full on Saturday or Sunday. If you are not staying at the convention late into the evening, it may be better to use public transit into the city. Please reference Google Maps to assist you in locating a parking garage close to the convention center. The Sheraton parking garage is most convenient and obvious as you turn in on Conway (not marked on this Maps search), however it fills up very quickly and it is unlikely you will get a spot there during the convention.
Volunteers who will be driving to the convention will incur parking expenses. These parking expenses will not be reimbursed, however they can be written off at your end-of-year tax return as volunteer expenses. Please be sure to request a receipt if you use cash-paid event parking. Retain a copy of your receipts for your tax records.
The Baltimore Convention Center has it's own light rail stop with service from the Red, Yellow, and Blue lines. MARC Trains run into Baltimore from more distant county departure points, and stop nearest to the Baltimore Convention Center at Camden Yards, which is a comfortable walking distance of several blocks. For further information about using public transit, please visit the Maryland Transit Authority website at https://mta.maryland.gov/. If choosing the Light Rail, it is suggested that you purchase a day pass. You can also message @NodnarbDude with public transit questions. IF YOU INTEND TO USE PUBLIC TRANSIT, PLEASE BE AWARE OF HOURS OF SERVICE BEFORE COMMITTING TO A SHIFT.
Otakon has created a guide to alternative transit options here: https://www.otakon.com/allroads.asp
Volunteers who will be driving to the convention will incur transit expenses. These transit expenses will not be reimbursed, however they can be written off at your end-of-year tax return as volunteer expenses. Retain a copy of your receipts for your tax records.
ATTENDING PANELS, EVENTS, OR EXPLORING THE CONVENTION
At this time, we are not entirely sure if the industry badges provided by Otakon will allow normal access to panels and events. This section will be updated with further information as it becomes available.
During your volunteer shift (especially since coverage is going to be minimal), you are not permitted to use your badge to attend events or panels. You are expected to be present at the table and actively recruiting future Extra Life participants.
Before or after your volunteer shift, if your badge does not need to be handed off to another volunteer, you are welcome to explore the convention. All badges MUST be turned in to @Sarah before leaving the Baltimore Convention Center/Hilton. You may not attend off-site events (Hyatt, First Mariner Arena), and you may not attend 18+ or hentai panels. Badge hand-offs will be coordinated via group text message. If you attend an event, please be sure to remove/conceal your Extra Life name badge.
Before, during, and after your shift — especially every minute that you wear that convention badge — you are representing Extra Life, Johns Hopkins Children's Center, and the Extra Life Baltimore Guild. Otakon has generously waived their fees for us in order to make it possible for us to attend and volunteer at this event, and it is a very successful convention for us. It is very important that we maintain a great relationship with the staff at Otakon so that we can continue to attend. Remember, you are representing a children's charity. None of us would judge you for attending cosplay burlesque , but you shouldn't be attending it using a badge donated for professional use. Use common sense, and check with @Sarah if you aren't sure if the panel or event you'd like to attend is appropriate.
To consider and plan out panels and events you'd like to attend, download the Guidebook app from Google Play or iTunes. This is a great resource for additional information about the convention (hours, directions, and updates).
LUNCHES AND POTTY BREAKS
If you need to take a lunch and you do not have backup coverage at the booth, please coordinate with @Sarah and @NodnarbDude who will plan a time to cover you for lunch. If you need to take a quick bathroom break and you do not have backup coverage at the booth, please take any loose valuable items with you (i.e. laptops, tablets, cell phones). There will be a small lock box available in our booth as well. There are bathrooms conveniently located in the gaming hall.
If you have backup coverage at the booth and need to leave to get food or take a bathroom break, please be courteous and let the other volunteer know that you are leaving the table.
Lines at the food vendors nearest the gaming hall are horrendous, and it is not practical to leave the convention to purchase food (trust me, the lines will be even worse at normal restaurants). The best location for purchasing something to eat quickly is in the third floor above the gaming hall. Any food you may be able to purchase will be overpriced convention food. It is strongly suggested to pack a lunch if possible.
SIGNING UP TO VOLUNTEER
Please let us know when you can volunteer. I will update the event with confirmed volunteer names below the shifts they have agreed to work. We need one volunteer minimum per shift to start off with, however extra coverage during periods that there is a badge free would be appreciated (11 am - 3 pm Friday, 6 pm - 10 pm Friday, 7 pm - 12 am Saturday, and 10 am - 3 pm Sunday)! For additional details, please message @Sarah, @NodnarbDude or @Ceraph1216.
Volunteers will receive ongoing updates and instructions throughout the week and during the convention. Thanks so very much for donating your time and energy for the kids!
Marc Train Map: