The Original Slug Club

Happy Birthday to the Central Florida Slug Club!

August 3rd is the Central Florida Slug Club’s FOURTH birthday! On this day in 2012, a bunch of us who began talking on MyHogwarts decided to get together for butterbeer at The Three Broomsticks. Since then, we’ve grown to become a group of about 1,500 members spread out between our Facebook and Meetup.com groups that meets at least twice a month for a variety of activities include cosplay days, book club, laser tag, virtual races, community service and activism, and more! It’s been an amazing three years. I can’t wait to see what the fourth brings!

The Original Slug Club

The Original Slug Club

Slug Club at Kings Cross

The Central Florida Slug Club at Kings Cross on September 1st, 2015

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S.P.E.W.’s Successful 2016 Accio Books Campaign

By Rubina Kandiah

Being part of a Harry Potter club, it is safe to say that literature is a very important aspect for most of us. From Narnia to The Shire and Hogwarts to Westoros, a lot of us have visited many different worlds through the imagination of authors. However, not everyone has the privilege or opportunity to read. According to UNICEF, “Nearly a billion people will enter the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names” and Being to Read states that 1 in 4 children in America grow up without learning how to read. Their numbers are growing, which means there are even more of them now. This is a very unfortunate scenario, which is why I am glad to see the Harry Potter Alliance (HPA) make their Accio Books campaign an annual event and that our chapter – The Central Florida Slug Club’s S.P.E.W. – takes part in it every year with a lot of passion.

Every year, we have been having continuously successful Accio Books campaigns. This year was our third campaign with the HPA (the HPA itself was on its 8th annual campaign), and we collected a total of 7,276 books – surpassing our goal of 5,000 books and collecting more than twice what we collected last year (3,226books)! Our first year of campaigning, we had a total of 300 books so we have certainly come an immensely long way from the beginning! We came in second place worldwide for the number of books collected (out of 250+ chapters), and with the winning chapter collecting over 38,000 books, I’d say we did a rather impressive job this year! Way to go S.P.E.W.! We also came in third place worldwide for the total number of points; points were earned by hosting events or by doing different advocacy actions like emailing, writing letters to or calling representatives to request additional funding for libraries.

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The focus this year was on diverse books – main characters being people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, etc. – and we strived to collect as many of these as possible. The HPA chose to donate all of the books this year to Good Shepherd School in Masaka, Uganda, teaming up with a number of other organizations including Books for Africa, the Literate Earth Project, and the American Library Association. On top of that, our chapter, S.P.E.W., chose a local charter school to donate our books to – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of Central Florida. With the high number of books that we collected, we were able to donate to all seven of their different campuses throughout Central Florida. On top of that, employees at Universal Roofing, a construction company, heard about what we were doing and offered to build libraries for the children at their Pine Hills campus. The people in charge at UCP were very impressed with our book campaign success this year and were very grateful to us for choosing them! Several thanks to S.P.E.W. prefect, Bryanna Plantier, for suggesting the school.

With the rising success we’ve been having, I can only assume that we will aim even higher for next year’s campaign. It would be nice to come in 1st place! But more importantly, I am very proud to be a part of a club that takes such pride in spreading and encouraging literacy. May the Harry Potter fandom continue to lower the growing number of illiteracy around the world, book by book.

Roller Derby: A Magical Sport for Muggles

by Angelica “Helga Hufflepunch” Rodriguez of Revolution Roller Derby
A couple of years ago a good friend of mine asked if I wanted to go see a roller derby game. “A roller derby game? Like in Whip It?” she laughed, “Yeah, sort of.” So I got in the car, drove to Orlando and watched a brand new sport, still in its infancy, with admiration. A year later I would join the fray under my new alter ego: Helga HufflePunch. My life has never been the same.

 

Helga Hufflepunch

One of the greatest things about roller derby are the fun alter-ego, or derby names. You will find everything under the sun from Luna Shovegood, to Belligerent Lestrange, Phoenix Fawkes’m Up, Militant Bulstrode, and Helga HufflePunch (‘sup)… And those are just the Potter related names that came to mind.

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Photo by Phantom Photographics

So why am I talking about this muggle sport? Partly because I’m obsessed but also because your very own Slug Club is partnering with Thunder City Derby Sirens for their first Bi-Wizard Tournament on April 16! Unlike regular roller derby games, the Bi-Wizard tournament is a roller derby scrimmage, where skaters from all over Florida are put into mashup teams and play against each other. It is sure to be a blast! Never seen a roller derby game before? Do not worry, this guide is just for you!

For those of you not in the know, roller derby is one of the fastest growing sports in the world; the US alone has over 1,250 leagues. It has been around since the 1920s, but its modern resurgence is vastly different. The game is played on quad skates, on a flat track, with five players on each team: one jammer, and four blockers. The game consists of two 30-minute halves, each of which is broken up into 2-minute (or less) jams.

The jammers wear a star cover on their helmet and they score points every time they legally pass an opposing player. The blockers, who must skate together in a pack, try to stop the opposing jammer from scoring and help their own jammer get through the pack. Additionally, one of the blockers will also be designated as a pivot. The pivot wears a large stripe on their helmet and is able to score points if the jammer hands them their star cover, when this happens it is called a “Star Pass” or “Panty Pass.” The first jammer to break through the pack is designated as lead jammer, and while both jammers can score points at the same time, the lead jammer can call off the jam at any time.

Jammer

Photo by Starfish Derby Photography

Roller derby has an extensive rule book and contrary to popular belief, you cannot elbow someone in the face, or punch, or kick. I won’t get into the nitty-gritty, but it’s basically hockey rules when it comes to hits: you can hip check, shoulder check, and body check. It is one of the few sports where offense and defense are played at the same time, and it is AWESOME.

Derby is a predominantly female sport, but it has grown to include all-male leagues, co-ed leagues, and even junior leagues! The sport is really fun to watch and even more fun to play. Derby leagues are always looking for new recruits, volunteers, referees, and fans. If you are interested, chances are you have a league near you!

See you all on the track!

Thumps Up

Photo by Starfish Roller Derby Photography

Slug Club members get sorted

Celebration of Harry Potter Social Media Meetup 2016

By Megan Stump

 

Harry Potter Celebration is one of my favorite times of year, and this year was no exception.  In 2015 I was invited to the Social Media meet-up by a friend. I didn’t think anything could top that. I was able to meet James and Oliver Phelps, talk with MinaLima and Alan Gilmore about Diagon Alley, and ride Escape from Gringotts basically by ourselves.  It was a fantastic time, and Celebration was basically a dream.

 

Then about a month ago, Universal announced another Social Media meet-up. I entered on the first go, and in a few days I was notified that I won.  Immediately I decided on bringing my friend Ann Marie since Celebration is kind of our “thing”.  I had no idea what to expect and, even with a second email, all I knew is that we were going to be in Universal for almost five hours with a lunch break.

 

Social Media Meetup Selfie

 

We showed up to the front of Universal at 7:30AM to get our credentials and managed to be the first ones there. I figured there was going to be a long line like some of the Disney meet-ups, but no one else was around.  We came back around 8AM and met up with Meg and Kara from Slug Club, as well as some other friends that we knew were going to be there.  At 8:25 we were brought into the park through a special entrance with the Universal Orlando Resort (UOR) social media team and two VIP tour guides. It was then we were told that we were going to be taken through the day of a Hogwarts student. Off we went towards the Expo entrance.

 

When we arrived, we were told we were going to be sorted into our Hogwarts house. If you’ve never done or seen the Sorting Hat ceremony, a Universal team member brings you up and asks you some questions about yourself. If you have a specific house you feel tied to, they will ask you that as well. If you don’t, you usually end up with either Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw. After we were all sorted, we took the opportunity of no one else around to take a crazy selfie with the Sorting hat and its attendant!

 

  Slug Club members get sorted

 

The tour guides took us to the London Waterfront where we talked about Grimmauld Place and then about the entrance to Leaky Cauldron and why we end up going through the brick wall to the side of Leaky (purely capacity issues). We then walked into Diagon where we were taken over to the backside of Ollivander’s and divided into two groups to go through the wand experience. Meg was with us and ended up being chosen! Usually at the end of the wand ceremony, the assistant tells you about your “options” but this day we were just walked through the shop with the chosen students getting to keep their wands. I admit I was kind of bummed at first, but it wasn’t for long.

 

They took us straight into Madame Malkin’s where we were told we were there to be fitted for our robes. I couldn’t believe it but we were all handed robes based on the houses we were sorted into at the beginning.  Each of us was also given a wand based on our houses. Gryffindors received Ginny Weasley’s wand, Ravenclaw received Luna Lovegood’s, Slytherin were given Severus Snape’s and Hufflepuff… Fleur Delacour…? We still haven’t figured out why that was the wand for the ‘Puffs, but hey…free wand! The “students’ that had been chosen were given the wand that had chosen them in Ollivander’s. I’m pretty sure I’m still in shock from this. At this point I did the standard Megan thing and burst into tears. One of the UOR social media team members gave me a hug that was greatly needed. At this point, the day wasn’t even half over and it had been the best meetup I had ever been to.

 

Lunch took place at the Leaky Cauldron of course. Each of us received a Gilly Water, an entrée and any beverage that was non-alcoholic. I could have tried any dish, but I stuck with good old fish and chips and my favorite Wizarding World drink – the Lemon Squash.  (Yes I love it more than butterbeer. It’s more refreshing and I can drink it without getting on a sugar high!)

 

 Waiting for the Hogwarts Express

 

After lunch, we were taken over to Islands of Adventure by way of the Hogwarts Express. Our group had our own car and had an exciting moment when the Dementors showed up.  I’m fairly certain the cars on each side of us could hear us screaming.  We were clearly having way too much fun. When we got over to Hogsmeade station, we thought we would be heading over to Hogwarts but they brought us to the front of the park.  Near Confisco’s and the Crescent Moon Bakery is a little gate that is the entrance to the Navigator’s Club.  It usually takes a special event to get up there and, if you watched the webcasts that the cast recorded that weekend, that’s where they were filming! We went upstairs and were given a wand master class by Paul Harris who was the wand choreographer for the movies. He kept telling us to cast WITH VENOM to the point our friend Felipe sent his camera’s lens case flying with all the venom he could muster.

 

We were asked for a group photo with Paul Harris and, as we were all scattering, Matt Lewis, Evanna Lynch and Rupert Grint came into the room!  We were all in shock, but I decided to open my big mouth and reminded Matt that we had had a conversation during Potterwatch in summer 2014. They all had us get together for a photo. I was lucky enough to be standing right behind Rupert and Paul.  After the photo was over, I asked Rupert if I could get a selfie before they left, and quickly snapped it before the stars were whisked away.  It happened so fast! I was the only one to get any photos or anything. I could barely walk down the stairs I was shaking so hard, but managed to make it without falling.

 

 Megan with Rupert Grint

 

They took us over to Hogwarts and we rode Forbidden Journey for our last bit of the event.  Afterwards, we were taken to the Three Broomsticks and given a Chocolate Frog to combat the sad feeling the Dementors left us with during the ride as well as a souvenir stein filled with cold butterbeer.  Before our last picture in front of Hogwarts, we were given a 1-day 2 park ticket and VIP express passes for the rest of the day.
For as many Disney and Universal blog meetups I have attended, this one was truly the most amazing.  I still can’t believe that we were given this opportunity. I was so glad that I was able to share it with people who absolutely loved Harry Potter as much as I do! I can’t thank the Universal Social Media team enough for this event. I’m happy that I wasn’t the only Slug Club member who got to experience this!

 

Butterbeer

A Positive Start to the New Year

It’s that time of year again, when we want to get the warm fuzzies from the holiday season and the promise of a new year but outside stressors may be affecting our good cheer – crowds at the stores, family drama, that awful customer who procrastinated their project and now puts a rush on you when you’d rather daydream of candy canes or relaxing afternoons at home…

Over the summer, the Harry Potter Alliance released their Positive Fandom campaign, a list of community guidelines to help make fandom a safe, inclusive, and welcome space for all fans. At GeekyCon 2015, they passed out postcards with these points and a list of tasks that attendees could complete in order to work their way towards a more positive fandom (and one of the coveted ribbon badges.) Each task was relatively easy to complete, but really left us thinking afterwards about how we can apply these to our daily lives.

The Central Florida Slug Club’s S.P.E.W. team took inspiration from these guidelines, discussed how these affected us, how could use these reminders particularly through the holidays and new year, and came up with a list of four points where we could use improvement: Kindness, Community, Education, and Self-Care.  During this month-long project, we are asking members of our group and the community to talk about what these mean to them, what they are doing to improve as individuals on each point, and post it on social media with #positivecfslugclub. Keep an eye on Slug Club social media (particularly our Twitter and Tumblr!) for member submissions and ideas on what YOU can do throughout the month! We’re dedicating a week to each point; expect to see a new one up each Sunday through early January. 

 

Potterwatch 2014: One Year Later

by Megan Stump

Several years ago there was a rumor that more Harry Potter was coming to Universal Studios Florida. I had fallen in love with Hogsmeade immediately after seeing the tip of Hogwarts from across the lagoon in IoA, so needless to say, I was very excited. We learned about some fun details at the Harry Potter Celebration. Finally June 9, 2014 the construction walls came down. Read More

Accio Books 2015 Donation Locations

Want to donate some books for our 2015 Accio Books program? We have donation boxes at the following locations:

Winter Park Public Library
460 E New England Ave
Winter Park, FL 32789
Hours: M-Th 9AM-9PM, Sat 9AM-5PM, Sun 1-5PM

Regus Winter Park
941 W Morse Blvd, Suite 100
Winter Park, FL 32789
Hours: M-F 830AM-500PM

Leesburg Public Library
100 E Main Street
Leesburg, FL 34748
Hours: M-Th 9AM-8PM, Sat 9AM-5PM

First Baptist Church of Highland City
5410 Yarborough Lane
Lakeland, FL 33813
Hours: 7AM-6PM (Ring Bell)

More locations coming soon! Keep an eye on our blog here or our S.P.E.W. Facebook page for more information. The Central Florida Slug Club’s Accio Books 2015 Donation Drive goes from April 1st through May 30th.

You can also bring your books to any Central Florida Slug Club meetup in April and May, as well as meetups for “Tampa Bay’s Portkey to Magic”, an adult Harry Potter club in the Tampa area, and Nerd Nite Orlando.

All donations will go to Impower, a non-profit mental health and child well-being organization in Central Florida.

SPEW logo                       impower                    HPA Chapters

Dobby’s Sock Drive

Dobby's Sock Drive - Rough Draft

The Central Florida Slug Club’s S.P.E.W. division recently started their first community service project since the group formed over the summer! They are currently collecting socks for the homeless. Socks are the most needed and least donated item (after all, almost everyone, even Floridians, wear socks at some point, but very few people think to donate them.)

Please bring your new or gently used socks (paired or mismatched!) to any meetup during the month of November as well as our ice skating meetup on December 7th. Donations are also accepted in our collection box at the Regus location at 941 W. Morse Blvd, Suite 100, Winter Park, FL from November 1st through December 1st. All socks donated will go to the Orlando Union Rescue Mission, who will then distribute it to the homeless using their services.

A subdivision of Central Florida Slug Club, the goal of Central Florida Slug Club S.P.E.W. is to encourage local citizens to get involved in helping out in their communities. We will accomplish this by creating and organizing opportunities for service and recruiting a volunteer force to build and execute them. Similar to Hermione’s S.P.E.W., we are the Society for the Promotion of Everyone’s Welfare, working together to promote a better world in a variety of ways. If you have any questions or wish to get involved, please reach out to our S.P.E.W. organizers at cfslugclubspew@gmail.com.

A Slytherin Call to Arms

ATTENTION ALL SLYTHERINS!!! YOUR HOUSE NEEDS YOU!

As we all know, Slytherin is the superior house at Hogwarts, but how can we flaunt this superiority when we are currently in last place in the house ranks? We need to show these Mudbloods and lesser wizards how serious we can be when it comes to earning house points. This is why I call on you all to step up and take pride in your house! Let us show them the true power of the pureblood line in Slytherin! Do not wait until later to earn points for your house; the time to act is now! How can we uphold the esteemed values of Salazar Slytherin when we are currently losing to the lowly house of Godric Gryffindor?  I beg you all to come join in more activities at Hogwarts and remember to wear your full robes to earn maximum points for our house! As Slytherins, we are ambitious, clever, resourceful, and determined, so use these skills and make your house proud! Do not wait for another witch or wizard to do the work for you! If not now, when? If not you, then who?

Your Slytherin prefect,

Draco Malfoy

 

Written by Alyssa Hancock