The folks at Club Penguin want you to know how much you mean to them. Yes, you. Whether you are a parent, a child, a boy, a girl, a newbie, a tween, a teen, or a fanatic, they love you. This was the message they wanted me to convey to you and I wholeheartedly agree. I have met a lot of passionate people in my lifetime, but the folks I met behind the scenes at Club Penguin headquarters over the last two days are some of the most kind, driven, and dedicated people I have ever met. Their energy was contagious and their enthusiasm was palpable. Everything Club Penguin does is for “the kids”, whether it’s designing new worlds, adding new props or working with charitable organizations throughout the world, Club Penguin treasures ethics and values above all else.
Four days ago when I boarded a plane for a town in British Columbia I couldn’t pronounce, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Addie has played Club Penguin on and off but neither of us were totally fluent in Penguinese. Every resident I met in Kelowna was so proud to have Club Penguin in their community. “I’m here with Disney for Club Penguin” seemed to be the magic words from customs to taxi cabs. We spent Thursday and Friday at headquarters learning a little bit of everything and having A LOT of fun. We learned about children’s speech patters from a computational linguist. We learned about advanced security measures in place to make sure kids are always safe on Club Penguin. We learned about parties, new products, the rise of rainbow Puffles and Club Penguin’s charitable giving resources. Of everything that was discussed, nothing got the team more excited than talking about the talented and amazing kids who play everyday, inspiring them to keep doing things they never thought possible.
We were shown screenshots of igloos kids had turned into the Hunger Games, water parks, schools, grocery stores, a Gangnam Style dance floor and prehistoric lands. We were shown video of kids playing musical chairs and serving each other virtual pizza. We watched impromptu dance parties and well organized campaigns around causes like Hurricane Sandy, 9/11 and the earthquakes in Japan. The reason none of this activity by kids goes unnoticed is because there are human eyeballs on every Club Penguin activity 24/7. Passionate people who monitor what kids are doing, saying, and feeling to make sure everyone plays fair and no one feels left out.
The most influential penguins at HQ, Spike Hike and Polo Field, are the two biggest fans of the kids they have the privilege of interacting with everyday. Just the mention of their names on Twitter sent dozens of penguin avatars from all over the world into a flurry, begging us to ask them questions about Puffles, easter eggs, new levels and trade secrets, the team took the opportunity to answer every single one. The walls of Club Penguin HQ are packed with fan art, some of the best I’ve ever seen. Emails, fan letters and even more art show up on TVs littered throughout the three floors Club Penguin calls home.
Club Penguin is well aware they are a children’s product and that there are children’s products everywhere begging for the attention of kids and the wallet of their parents. They also realize that the kids who play Club Penguin are their greatest inspiration and asset, and without them they would be nowhere which is why they work tirelessly to listen to them, answer every single phone call, letter and email, allowing them to make a world that allows anyone who enters to be exactly who they are without judgement. They encourage silliness, they embrace the ridiculous and they marvel every day at the creativity and imagination that pop up on their screens in Kelowna every day.
I’ll be talking a lot more about Club Penguin in the coming weeks (including an AMAZING giveaway!) as they gave me my own account and I am hooked like a fish in Ice Fishing. I knew I had to get out my fierce love and adoration for them out first thing.
Now that that is out of the way, why do you love Club Penguin?
Find more of Casey’s writing on her blog moosh in indy. She’s also available on twitter, facebook, flickr and Instagram. If you can’t find her any of those places? Check the couch, she’s probably taking a nap.