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Otakon

    

Baltimore Guild
Sarah

Event details


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.

 

COVERAGE

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:

 

  • Friday
    • 11 am - 6 pm includes booth setup
    • 3 pm - 10 pm
  • Saturday
    • 10 am - 5 pm
    • 12 pm - 7 pm
    • 5 pm - 12 am this shift is tentative and may end early depending on how many other booths are still in operation
      • @Ceraph1216
  • Sunday
    • 10 am - 3 pm includes booth breakdown
      • @KJCoin

 

PARKING

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.

 

Google Map of Parking Garages close to the Baltimore Convention Center

 

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.

 

PUBLIC TRANSIT

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!

 

RESOURCES

Maryland Transit Authority Regional Transit Map

Downtown Baltimore Parking Map

Downtown Baltimore Visitors Map (Includes Light Rail and Bus Information)

Marc Train Map:

MARCsystemmap.JPG

 


Recommended Comments

I will be in attendance and coordinating volunteers throughout the weekend.  I will not be available for table coverage other than lunches and potty breaks.

 

All lockup materials will be stored in my hotel room in the Hilton nightly.

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I'm good for Saturday 10-5pm

btw I live in Bowie as well - in Whitehall section. What is the table setup going to be? No calligraphy this time :/

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4 minutes ago, Aaron said:

I'm good for Saturday 10-5pm

btw I live in Bowie as well - in Whitehall section. What is the table setup going to be? No calligraphy this time :/

 

The table setup will feature a few nicer/bigger prizes that we will give away on the last day of the convention via raffle ticket.  So basically, if they spin and get a raffle ticket, they get a chance to win the better prizes.  I believe we'll have a few battery backups/chargers, and I am donating a few pieces of small framed artwork and maybe a larger piece if I have time.  I also have a few small things I got in an anime subscription box that I have no interest in personally, but will donate to the raffle pool.

 

The raffle tickets will serve the same purpose of having them take a few extra minutes to fill out a ticket which will give us the opportunity to talk to them.

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49 minutes ago, Sarah said:

 

The table setup will feature a few nicer/bigger prizes that we will give away on the last day of the convention via raffle ticket.  So basically, if they spin and get a raffle ticket, they get a chance to win the better prizes.  I believe we'll have a few battery backups/chargers, and I am donating a few pieces of small framed artwork and maybe a larger piece if I have time.  I also have a few small things I got in an anime subscription box that I have no interest in personally, but will donate to the raffle pool.

 

The raffle tickets will serve the same purpose of having them take a few extra minutes to fill out a ticket which will give us the opportunity to talk to them.

No Smash this time?

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No Smash, since our booth is in the gaming hall we decided that it wasn't necessary.  Your comment about competing screens is still important, though, so I'm going to try to get some sort of video loop together for you guys to play.

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I am available for any/all of the Satuday shifts if need be. Unfortunately I will be driving back down from New Hampshire on Friday and cannot guarantee that I'll be back in time to man any shifts.

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23 hours ago, Sarah said:

No Smash, since our booth is in the gaming hall we decided that it wasn't necessary.  Your comment about competing screens is still important, though, so I'm going to try to get some sort of video loop together for you guys to play.

So there will be a TV or display of some sort? If so, I'd have no issue bringing something for people to play on it...if that's ok with you and Drew.

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38 minutes ago, Aaron said:

So there will be a TV or display of some sort? If so, I'd have no issue bringing something for people to play on it...if that's ok with you and Drew.

 

Aaron, I think the issue we were concerned about for this con was the lack of coverage especially.  We would need to "police" the amount of time people play (as was brought up in many of our post-Gamescape surveys), and with our coverage we need our volunteers able to focus on speaking with potential Extra Lifers.  Honestly, I'm thinking about letting you guys use my Chromecast during the day and just having you stream someone's Twitch stream, because the 2016 Extra Life promo videos aren't available.  If we pick a popular enough game, people will still be curious enough to walk up to the table.

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30 minutes ago, Sarah said:

 

Aaron, I think the issue we were concerned about for this con was the lack of coverage especially.  We would need to "police" the amount of time people play (as was brought up in many of our post-Gamescape surveys), and with our coverage we need our volunteers able to focus on speaking with potential Extra Lifers.  Honestly, I'm thinking about letting you guys use my Chromecast during the day and just having you stream someone's Twitch stream, because the 2016 Extra Life promo videos aren't available.  If we pick a popular enough game, people will still be curious enough to walk up to the table.

Understood.

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