My friends know I’m a Disney collector. For almost thirty years, I’ve belonged to the Disneyana Fan Club (DFC, originally the NFFC, http://www.disneyanafanclub.org/), and it’s been a very rewarding experience on many levels. I know most people have their outside interests and passions, but I also realize occasionally these passions can get a bit… extreme. One of my friends once stumbled onto a Barbie doll convention in a hotel lobby; the place was filled with women carry dolls (and a few men with Ken dolls), and they were all dressed to match their dolls! (“And people think we get obsessive.”) Unfortunately, the extreme side tends to garner the most publicity.
Enthusiasm aside, you may not realize there is another aspect to fan clubs. We have always prided ourselves on going above and beyond, to becoming involved in our communities, and that includes charity work. At last count, there were 24 DFC chapters around the world, and many are involved with local causes. Plus the club supports two charities on a national basis — Ryman Arts in Los Angeles ( http://www.rymanarts.org/), which provides art training to promising young people in Southern California, and Give Kids The World in Kissimmee, Florida ( http://www.gktw.org/), which operates a non-profit resort for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.
But we aren’t the only ones. If you have a passion, there is probably an organization for you, and it’s a good bet they’re doing more than just meeting and talking. For example —
The Harry Potter Alliance ( http://www.thehpalliance.org/) — According to their website, “We’re changing the world by making activism accessible through the power of story. Since 2005, we’ve engaged millions of fans through our work for equality, human rights, and literacy.” Since 2009, they have raised over 300,000 books through their annual international book drive, Accio Books.
The International Federation of Trekkers is a club of Star Trek fans. It operates the Federation Relief Missions Task Force ( https://trekfederation.com/federation-relief-missions-taskforce/), whose latest mission was helping victims of Hurricane Harvey.
If you like Star Wars, you have more options. The 501st Legion, “Vader’s Fist” ( https://www.501st.com/), raised $889,000 and worked 182,000 volunteer hours in 2016 under the slogan “Bad Guys Doing Good.” On the “other side” is the Rebel Legion (http://www.rebellegion.com/ ), which also took up Hurricane Harvey as a cause.
Never has the phrase “Get Involved” carried a more passionate meaning.