Granger Leadership Academy
Its a week post-GLA now and I think that it is due time that I reflect a little on it. The Granger Leadership Academy is a leadership conference hosted by the Harry Potter Alliance. This year it was hosted over 4 days at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Providence-Warwick during the first week of March 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. It was my first con and I was blown away by the amazingness of the experience. The Harry Potter fandom is amazing and all of the people who I met were incredibly kind, fun and thoughtful people.
GLA in a nutshell
For those of you who have never heard about the Granger Leadership Academy before, it’s a leadership conference, like I said. The first time it was hosted was in 2014 with about 40 or 50 people attending. This year, 2016, it has almost tripled in size with 125 attendees present.
The Granger Leadership Academy has strong ties with Hermione Granger from Harry Potter because she was willing to take a leadership role; it was because she wanted to do so, not because she had to, even when the path wasn’t easy, like when she and Harry were finding the Horcrux’s. She demonstrated her leadership and desire for social change numerous times, including when she started S.P.E.W to advocate for the betterment of the lives of house elves.
Leadership, social change and fan activism were a few of the larger themes that we touched on at GLA. The workshops (seminars, breakouts, whichever you choose) were about things like Avatar and Leadership (like Avatar The Last Airbender, pretty rad!), From Charity to Change (how can you get people take actions beyond just giving money), Creating Safe Spaces 101, Hermione Granger and Imposter Syndrome. Other workshops were about planning events, recruitment and logic model for planning events and campaigns.
Reasons why GLA was awesome?
Reason #1: amazing people
This community of ours is amazing. Everyone was wonderful. Honestly, if nothing else happened, I still met amazing thoughtful, insightful, fun and kind people. I always think that people can make or break your experience and, in this case, the Harry Potter community present just totally enhanced what already promised to be an amazing experience.
Reason #2: amazing discussions
Sort of tied in with the amazing people, I feel like I also had so many amazing conversations. I learned so much from everyone.
Reason #3: Inspired to be a better social / fan activist
Some of the work that people in the community are doing is super inspiring. I feel like I came away with a ton of great ideas.
Reason #4: A new appreciation for libraries
Libraries are kind of awesome. Literacy is kind of a big deal and libraries make it possible for communities access books and technology. Knowledge is power. I am so excited about Friends of the Apparating Library, Accio Books, and the actionables for my country for the campaign (donating books I’ve read will be a great start!)
Reason #5: Wizard rock (wrock if you prefer) is a thing and it is epic
Ok, so I never really listened to wizard rock before. After we had a wizard rock concert, turns out that I kind of love wizard rock. Lauren Fairweather, Ashley Hamel, and Tonks and the Aurors performed for us and it was super fun.
I came away from GLA with so many lessons, new friends, and awesome experiences. I can’t wait to go to another con (another GLA maybe?). And I want all of my wizard activists to go to GLA next year.