Armies for Kids Feedback

The HAWKs recently received an Email from John Spiess about his daughter and the Armies for Kids project.  With his permission, I am sharing the letter:

Hi guys,

I know you are probably getting busy planning for Barrage, so I wanted to send you a quick note to say thanks for all you do for our Hobby. Please see the two photos below. The first one was taken at Historicon 2011 which I believe was the first year the “Armies for Kids” project took place. Notice the little nine year old girl on the far left.

Armies for Kids participant in 2011.

Fast forward eight years to Historicon 2019, just held in downtown Lancaster. The same girl, now seventeen, just won the Best in Show Award for her Saturday “Siege of Paris” game.

Erin Spiess wins an award at Historicon 2019.

If you haven’t figured it out just yet, her name is Erin Spiess, my daughter. I remember her first convention was spent entirely in the HAWKS room, and she has been completely hooked since then, thanks to all your efforts. So give yourselves a nice pat on the back.

I’ll also share some details on her game. First, I ran the same game on Friday. I had six slots, but let 15 people play (I don’t like turning people away, so I always bring extra figures). Erin ran the game on Saturday and let 19 play, nine of which were kids from our education program. When I tried to help she just said, “Get lost dad, I got this”.

Anyway, it turns out that one of the kids was also a special needs student. He showed up late and just expected to be turned away. Not only did she give him a warm welcome, but the way she handled the game mechanics to keep him and the other young kids involved, while making sure everyone was having a good time was pretty inspiring. Guess what, she learned a lot of that from the HAWK gamemasters. The young man actually went to the Awards desk afterwards and told them that he had the best time of his life.

So thanks again and good luck with Barrage. Hopefully, I’ll see you both at Fall-In.

Best regards,
John Spiess
President, HMGS, Inc.