Furry Connection North has declared that they are closing their doors. Now, I’ll preface this by saying that I am fortunate enough to count several of the senior staffers and board members as friends, and so am probably somewhat biased in that regard. I will also state, though, that after 13 years of Midwest FurFest and 22 years of working in fandom volunteer organizations, I have some insight into how these organizations work.
What I find galling and simply jaw-dropping are the few (and fortunately I can say VERY few) people who have said, “Why didn’t they ask me to take it over before closing the convention? I would have helped!” Here’s the problem: you didn’t step up. The time to be saying this is not now. The horse has left the barn, and the barn has burned down – a little too late to shut the door.
To use another analogy: If someone wants to borrow your car, are you going to give it to someone you don’t know who just approaches you off the street? Or are you going to lend it to someone you know and whose actions you have observed and can say that they are trustworthy? You could have been on that staff. You could have stepped up and volunteered a year ago, two or three years ago. You could have shown that you were responsible and been promoted within the organization. THAT’S HOW IT WORKS.
For someone to show up now, when they had the opportunity to volunteer before, and complain that the FCN board won’t simply turn the convention and its assets over to them is the height of hubris. Don’t complain that no one ever asked you to help. The convention accepted volunteers every year in Operations. I know – I worked there for a few years. No, you did not get an engraved invitation. No, you were not invited to run the Sponsor Lounge your first year. They might have even just asked you to help haul equipment. You start at the bottom, and you work your way up. And if doing grunt work is distasteful to you? You shouldn’t be running conventions. Because someone has to do it, and when no one else is around, that’s someone is going to be you.
Ranting aside, there is something here to be learned from every member of furry fandom (heck, from all kinds of fandoms): If you have an event that you love that is run by volunteers, step up! Offer to help. Even if it’s just checking badges at a door for a few hours. Don’t assume that “someone else will do it.” Because eventually, there will be no “someone else”. And that event that you love? That’ll be gone.