Attending with my 11 year old daughter
I am attending AC 2017 with my 11 year old daughter, who identifies as a furry. What should we expect? Are there enough activities that are appropriate for her? Does anyone who has attended with a minor before have any advice for us?
Anthrocon is an all-ages convention. There are lots of things at the con your daughter can experience. However, in order for her to attend, you'll have to fill out, sign, and send out a Minor Consent form, which can be found here: http://www.anthrocon.org/files/anthrocon/minor-consent-2017.pdf
Cyan is incorrect. Until your daughter is 13, you will have to accompany her everywhere at the convention. She will attend free of charge until she's 13, then she can attend without your presence. At that point, Cyan is correct: she can attend without your supervision, but she will have to have the notarized document..
The convention is intended as an all ages convention, and anything that is adult is supposed to be inaccessible and unseen by children.
I thought that applied to all attendees under 18. That's more understandable, now.
I am attending AC 2017 with my 11 year old daughter, who identifies as a furry.
Hello and congratulations! You should both have a good time, with a little planning for what you attend. (Figure out what interests you, then attend that.)
What should we expect?
If you've never been around a bunch of furries, the first look will seem odd. There will be lots of people in fursuits, and lots of people in fuzzy ears and tails. Once you get used to it, however, you may notice that most attendees are in street clothes, dressed for Pittsburgh in the Summer. That's what it looks like- and otherwise looks just like any other fan convention. Since AC has lots of space, you may find fewer crowd bottlenecks than in some conventions, however. Fewer "sardine" moments with people trying to cram together than some more famous hobby conventions. The noise level will be about what you'd expect, knowing all that. The DLCC, during the day, gets lots of sunlight in through lots of windows, but it also has air-conditioning.
Are there enough activities that are appropriate for her?
Most activities will be APPROPRIATE for her-but not all will be of interest to her. (I sometimes do a panel I describe as "PG-13"-but because of the interest level, since there's nothing inappropriate actually discussed and it's easily clean enough for primetime television.)
When you go to Registration onsite, you will get your Registration Packet (when completing registration). It will include a guide to the neighborhood (eateries, etc) and includes a schedule of all the activities- with a description and a pocket guide with the times and places. Go over all the events you MIGHT be interested in, and then mark them on your pocket guides as possible activities. A lot of people leave time for socializing, but new people often prefer more time at panels and so on.
A previous year's schedule can give you an idea of the types of events on the schedule.
There's no guarantee a particular event will be held again any year, but that type of event will probably happen if that specific event is not held.
Does anyone who has attended with a minor before have any advice for us?
Most of the threads with general advice will apply here. The FAQ is especially helpful, and I recommend reading it twice, a month apart-since the second read, later, seems to make more sense to people. (There's some "stickies" here specifically for the new, here: https://www.anthrocon.org/forums/anthrocon-forums/general-forums/first-time-congoers
As for general advice for youngsters, it's fairly straightforward. Virtually the entire convention is accessible to them. Virtually all events are accessible to them. There's one art auction area she can't enter (no idea what it's like, I've never bothered with it), and a few events late at night that are marked as "mature." All public areas are considered as safe as a shopping mall. If anyone does anything in public not appropriate to a shopping mall, there's AC security all over the place and you can tell them or any staffer on-site. The city is Pittsburgh, so exercise normal caution, especially walking at night. (I like to walk to my hotel with another convention-goer even if they're a stranger, if at night.) There's a LOT of places to potentially walk, so SIT DOWN every chance you get, and wear shoes for lots of walking.
If you have more questions, feel free to ask them, and don't be surprised if you get linked to an answer-you're not the first person to look into things before attending.
Just to kind of summarize and perhaps clarify things a little:
Children 12 and younger do not require a badge. They get in free, but they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times. You'll need to pay for a membership, however. You will need to fill out a minor consent form for your daughter. Since you'll be attending with her, you won't need to get it notarized. You can fill it out ahead of time and bring it with you or you can fill one out when you arrive at the registration desks. We'll keep the consent form on file. If the two of you get separated at the convention, we'll use the contact information on it to get you back together.
As BlackJack suggested above, checking out the schedule will help you and your daughter to determine what sort of activites might interest you.
Actually, for children 12 and under, we don't require a parental consent form since the parent is with the child at all times.
Well hello! There is plenty to do and see at Anthrocon for her and you as well.
If you've seen Zootopia, you know what to expect. Not everyone will be in costume (or suit), and you'll likely find a few folk playing Judy and Nick. There's always some crossover with games as well, but over 75% are usually in regular clothing and not in costume.
Anthrocon's a family friendly convention with over 20 years of experience. Most adult panels are after 10pm, which you can verify about a month out when the con publishes an online schedule through PDF and Sched. That said, expect a bit of science fiction and fantasy as well -- Rocket Raccoon from the Guardians of the Galaxy was "cosplayed" (peformed in costume) years back.
There are panels on art, stories, performaces, puppetry, costuming, and always the guests of honor have their own. Major Disney animators and voice actors have come, as well as notable independents.
You don't have to have your own character to attend! It's not a requirment! But you may find yourself making one...
The staff replies above are very relevant, but I do (given my first AC was 1998) suggest a few things:
- Get your child a "fursona" badge. Many artists will make her one on the spot for a small fee ($25-$60 I've seen). We know each other primarily through our characters, thus the badges. So if she ID's as a fox or a bunny or a cat, she can have it drawn as a badge to wear.
- Keep water on hand, and maybe a light jacket. Pittsburgh is HOT! The fursuits (costumes) are HOT to wear, so the AC is jacked up in the DLCC's Dealers Den. That said, some will get dehydrated and you will see some new cosplayers/fursuiters "pop their heads" to get air and cool down quickly.
- Make sure you child knows where to find help, showing her where the Convention Desk/Office is in both the Westin and the DLCC, and getting familiar with the Dorsai Irregulars (http://www.di.org/). The Dorsai are Anthrocon's security team and they communicate with the con.
I hope to see you and her at the con!
Speaking as part of the security crew - we see kids even younger than your daughter at every Anthrocon. They seem to have a great time, and the attendees are quite considerate with kids. As other folks have noted, at age 11 you'll have to accompany her. As a couple of other people have noted, that means you will need a badge but she will not.
Aside from that, come and enjoy. I brought my grandkids to a couple cons close to where they live, and they (and the furs) had a great time playing together.
As someone who DID attend, as a minor a few years ago.. I can definetely say - there is plenty for her to enjoy that is perfectly safe and even *you* will likely enjoy and might even love!
I got my own mum into it, and now she and I go every year c: -- There was never an issue finding stuff to do, and even a lot of the time it was just fun to sort of wander and watch all the fuzziness! c:
Thanks for the answers, everyone!! I'm really looking forward to this con!! I've done comic cons and game cons in the past, so I'm used to the con atmosphere. I'm just excited to be able to bring my daughter here and have some fun with her!!!
You both will definetly have fun here! Most of the fursuiter's, like myself, are accomadating to ahving pics taken, but please make sure to approach form a vantage point they can see you, as alot of us have tunnel vision or worse in costume. I let my handler set me up for photoshoot's with the little ones, since I can't see them at all. But I also do recommend having an artist do badges for oyu, if you can find some for quick turn around time. There's plenty in both artists alley and the Dealer's den.
Outside of a very few 18+ events, which are clearly marked and monitored, the majority of the convention is completely and guardedly family friendly. My own daughter, who is now 20, has grown up at convention, including furry cons. The attendees are wonderfully accepting, welcoming everyone and treating everyone equally.
Also everyone works hard to make the convention the best it can be. Everyone watches out for everyone else. Everyone feels invested in the convention.
As Steve said earlier, we have a large "security" team, but we are really just there to make sure everyone plays nice and stays safe and has an excellent time. We security staff are of a wide range of ages, and many of us are parents, who now have our kids, and even grandkids working together. Feel free to stick your head in the Ops office, say hi. We're here to answer any question and make a wealth of suggestions.
So come, enjoy the con along with your daughter, it'll be a fantastic adventure for both of you.