Volunteer Policy

GrandCon Gaming Convention is Michigan's largest hobby game show that is held annually at DeVos Place Convention Center downtown Grand Rapids. The show is made up of distinct elements that allow attendees to experience and purchase hobby games for all genres. The opportunity for people to participate is key to the culture and understanding of GrandCon.

 

Exhibit Halls

GrandCon has a shared area for exhibitors and gamers.  The exhibitor area covers 75 artists, crafters, publishers, retailers, and designers related to hobby gaming. GrandCon encourages vendors to offer the opportunity to try games with no obligation to buy.

 

Scheduled Gaming

GrandCon hosts scheduled gaming which include: charity events, and tournaments spanning across all genres of the hobby games market - Boardgames, Collectible Card Games, Live Action Role Playing, Costume Play, Miniatures, and Roleplaying Games. Scheduled gaming is a crucial part of the show, and offers hundreds of games and tournaments in which people can participate or play.

 

Open Play

While many people enjoy scheduled gaming, others like to either play games they have purchased at the show or games from our extensive gaming library. We provide large open gaming areas to facilitate this for attendees.

Seminars, Guests and Special Events

Each year we hold a wide range of seminars featuring industry guests and/or gaming luminaries. In addition, we also hold special events such as the “D&D Improv Experiment” comedy show. These events are always gaming-related and offer a wider understanding and experience for our attendees.

 

Why do we use volunteers?

The organizer of GrandCon has always felt that the show is something in which we all participate, rather than something that is simply attended. It is a social-community event as well as a gaming event. We have found over the years that many people who come to the show want to contribute to this community and at an event that they find enjoyable. Simply
attending is not enough for some. Many of the activities we run are labor intensive and require several people to run effectively. Pretty much everyone you see working at the show itself is a volunteer. Without volunteers, GrandCon would not only be impossible, we feel it would be a much poorer event for it.

 

Types of Voluntary Roles

General Volunteer - The individuals who help make the show run, carrying out a wide range of tasks, from stewarding, selling tickets and providing information and help to visitors, to helping with setup and teardown.

Senior Volunteer - Includes Team Leaders or other roles by invitation only.

GMs/Tournament Judges - Individuals running roleplaying and board/card/miniatures tournaments for attendees.

 

Expectations

General and Senior Volunteers

  • Ensure you are aware of the tasks that are required of you and who your Team

  • Leaders are; where possible, this will be in advance of the start of your shift

  • Meet our promises with regard to expenses and accommodation as per the sections below

  • Provide you with a safe and respectful workplace

  • Provide a clear hierarchy for the purposes of supervision and solving any problems that may arise

  • As volunteers, we will expect you to do your best to: Help GrandCon provide an excellent experience for visitors, by being friendly, welcoming and helpful

  • Work reliably and diligently

  • Turn up for your shifts punctually and work the hours you have agreed, unless you are unable or you have been informed otherwise by your Team Leaders

  • Give as much warning as possible if you are unable to fulfill any role to which you have committed

  • Be presentable, wear your GrandCon shirt for all shifts, and wear sensible clothing and footwear, appropriate to the tasks you are performing

  • Wear your Expo badge/lanyard at all times while you are on shift

  • Act in the best interest of GrandCon by respecting visitors, fellow volunteers and staff, as well as promoting a safe and healthy environment

  • Report to your Team Leader any actions by anyone that you feel could be considered harassment, anti-social behavior, or constitute a health and safety risk. This will be taken seriously by your Team Leader and all at GrandCon

  • All volunteers must agree to attend an informal training via a social gathering or webinar, dates TBD.

  • Neither of us intend on an employment relationship to be created either now or at any time in the future.

  • Age Restriction: All volunteers must be aged 18 or over by the time they start their first volunteer shift at the show.

 

Age Restriction 

All volunteers must be age 18 or older by the time they start their first volunteer shift at the show.

 

Recruitment

General Volunteers - You will be recruited via an online application, which will provide GrandCon with all the necessary information to process your application. Please complete this as fully and as honestly as possible. We are keen to build a volunteer team comprising committed, hard-working and dedicated people who will help us to make GrandCon an excellent experience for visitors. 

We want to create a community within the volunteers, and enhance the existing community, and our expectation is that volunteers will work for at least 12 hours, over the Thursday to Sunday of show week. Please note that there are only a limited number of shifts available on Thursday; the majority of volunteers are needed during the show opening days. We will provide details of the various volunteer schedule types with your application. 

We will be assessing applications on an individual basis and it may not be possible to assign all applicants to volunteer slots. We understand that it may be disappointing if your application is not successful and we will inform you in a timely manner. 

Any information provided during this application process will be kept confidential and we will keep the personal information we request to a minimum. 

Please do not book in to tournaments or events until you have received your shift allocations. If there is a specific event you wish to attend, please let the Team Leaders know, and they will strive to work around this, however no guarantee can be made to meet these requests. Due to the length of most tournaments, it is not usually possible to both volunteer and take part in tournaments.

GMs/Judges - You folks are recruited via the event submissions process as detailed on the website

Senior Volunteers - You are recruited by invitation only, and are experienced show volunteers; if you are a senior volunteer, you will be notified by our volunteer team leader.

 

Dress Code

General and Senior Volunteers - You will be given a GrandCon tee shirt, in the size specified by you on your application. You must wear this volunteer tee shirt for all shifts worked, along with appropriate clothing, which is not torn, ripped or dirty, and suitable closed-toed footwear. It is likely that the tasks to which you are assigned will involve a reasonable amount of standing, walking, lifting and carrying and it is expected that you will ensure you have clothing that keeps you comfortable, presentable and safe for these tasks.

GMs and Tournament Judges - GMs are not required to wear any special uniform. However, Umpires may be required to wear some form of branded clothing depending on the tournament being run and any possible sponsor requirements. You will be notified of this in good time prior to the Expo weekend.

 

Compensation

GrandCon provides its volunteers  compensation based on the number of hours you are working and the level of responsibility you have chosen.

  • Volunteer Level 1: Volunteer for 12+ hours will earn you a free GrandCon badge and volunteer shirt.

  • Volunteer Level 2: Volunteer for 16+ hours will earn you weekend parking passes, plus level 1 benefits.

  • Volunteer Level 3: Core Staff Volunteer 24+ hours earn you all benefits of levels 1-2, plus more.

  • Volunteers should consider not buying a badge if you plan on volunteering for 12+ hours.

GrandCon does offer flexibility to volunteers, and better suit GrandCon's needs, as below. The minimum commitment we require from you varies depending on the level of commitment from about and the schedule type you chose volunteer under - please see below.

SCHEDULE TYPES

Standard Volunteers
Minimum time commitment: 12 hours from Friday at 7:00am until Sunday at 7:00pm, may include evening shifts.
(These times may change slightly as GrandCon grows or new plans develop)
Expectations: General volunteering roles, possibly Ambassadors

Core Staff Volunteers
Time commitment: 24 hours or more from Thursday 7:00am until Sunday at 7:00pm, may include evening shifts.
(These times may change slightly as GrandCon grows or new plans develop)
Expectations: Various roles that support the show in specific capacites

Senior Volunteers
Senior volunteers please see the Volunteer Policy for details.

 

Health and Safety

Volunteers are crucial to helping GrandCon Gaming Convention a safe event for all participants. If you see any issues which you feel may lead to Health and Safety risks, please raise them with a Team Leader as soon as possible. If you are unable to find your team leader, please raise the issue with the area’s Floor Managers - Clay Case or Eric Wisniewski. Please do not ignore a potential issue; we would rather you raise a concern, than risk an incident. Several tasks at the show may involve manual handling (lifting, moving or carrying objects), some of which will be heavy or bulky. We have provided space on the volunteer application form for volunteers to tell us what lifting you are comfortable doing; if the information you have provided changes before the event (e.g. due to injury) please let us (via email to info@grand-con.com) as far in advance of the event as possible, so that schedules can be updated accordingly. Please note this may mean a change to your shift or hourly allocations. 

If a task you are undertaking involves lifting or carrying, please follow the below guidelines:

  • Before lifting

    • Does the item really need to be moved? Don’t move items for the sake of it.

    • Are you capable of lifting the load by yourself? If not, please ask for help from another volunteer, contact your team leader, or see if a trolley/sack truck is available.

    • Don’t carry too many things at once, if the load can be split into smaller units.

    • Is the area where the item needs to be transported to clear? Ensure you have somewhere to put the item down at the other end.

    • If you need to move large or heavy items through public show areas while the

    • Expo is open, be aware of members of the public who may not pay attention to what you are doing.

    • Think before lifting or handling: plan the lift, where are you going to hold the item?

  • During the lift and handling

    • Adopt a stable position, maintaining balance throughout the lift

    • Get a good hold, hugging the load as close to your body as possible

    • Start in a good posture - a slight bending of your back, hips and knees is preferable to stooping or squatting

    • Do not flex your back any further while lifting

    • Keep the load close to your waist and the heaviest part of the load towards your body, where possible

    • Avoid twisting your back or leaning sideways

 

Problem Solving Procedure

As we would wish that show volunteering experience will always be a positive one, we understand that issues may arise. Once raised, these will be addressed in a sensitive, serious and timely manner. The following information is provided so you are aware of our problem solving procedure when handling complaints.

If you are a volunteer making a complaint - This part of the problem solving procedure gives you, the volunteer, the opportunity to complain if you feel you have been unfairly treated or if you have an issue or a cause for concern within the organization.

Stage 1 - Verbal Complaint

Should you experience any problems during the show, please raise them with your Team Leader. If the issue concerns your Team Leader, if you are unable to locate your Team Leader; or you are not sure whose team you are in, please get in touch with the show owner.

Before and after the show , please raise any issues with Clay, Tim or Jeff preferably by email (info@grand-con.com). If the issue concerns Clay, Tim or Jeff, please raise it with the owner, Brian Lenz (brian.lenz@grand-con.com).

Stage 2 - In Writing

If you, the volunteer, are not satisfied with the outcome of the verbal complaint, you should make a formal complaint in writing to the volunteer managers (info@grand-con.com) If the complaint concerns the volunteer managers then please submit the complaint to the owner Brian Lenz (brian.lenz@grand-con.com) GrandCon will respond to this complaint within 7 days.

Stage 3 - Opportunity to Appeal

If you are not satisfied with the outcome, then you may make an appeal to our independent advisor Jan Lenz (jshalt@hotmail.com). This will then be resolved and the final resolution given to you when completed.

GrandCon Gaming Convention LLC promises to abide by the independent advisor’s findings.