The majority of interested attendees are over 18 years of age. Very few minors that would like to attend would be able to make a convention for various reasons including travel, costs and parental consent, meaning we’d have a minimal proportion of under 18 attendees at an already small convention. In order to accommodate for this minimal proportion to attend, there are many concerns and planning changes that would need to be addressed.
All activities would have to be organized based around minors present, all adult attendees would have to be careful about their conversations (adult topics/jokes, swearing, etc.), extra care would have to be taken by all when wanting to show each other anything “Not Safe For Work” on their phones/tablets/laptops, they’d need to ensure that minors do not have access to alcohol or tobacco at any times, certain games like our version of Cards against Furmanity would have to be banned due to being unsuitable for minors, artists in the artist alley would have to ensure there is no mature art in their art files, accommodation would have to be taken into consideration and all of the above has to be monitored/controlled by the organizers.
Furthermore there are legal concerns. Events like this where under 18s are permitted, have legal contracts written up protecting organizers from personal liability of anything that may happen (eg. consent forms), which is a problem for us since we do not operate under a legal entity due to cost viability at this stage. Even upon full parental consent, parents would expect us to ensure that their children are properly looked after and supervised, which is not something we are prepared for.
Furry conventions in other countries that have allowed minors have had issues in the past which we are not prepared to deal with or risk at the present stage. Even at conventions where minors are allowed, parents have to be present at the convention registration to sign legal documentation and waivers of liability. Conventions that allow this also have areas restricted to over 18s, which we cannot accommodate for at a small convention, hence the entire convention would have to be under 18 friendly (alcohol consumption is a concern here). At similar events there are also often strict rules concerning included accommodation for minors for obvious reasons – sometimes parents have to acknowledge that they know exactly who their children are rooming with, or they have to arrange their own off-site accommodation where parents are responsible.
Due to the aforementioned concerns, our decision for current conventions is final and will only be reconsidered in later years when our convention grows large enough to make it worth the extra risks and effort.
There are many furry events all around the country that are more casual and allow furries of all ages, including camping events which have often seen attendees from all over the country. Please keep an eye on the forums for these events and consider joining one of the camps (usually held at least once per year).