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ModSquad and Extra Life: A Roundtable Discussion

As regular readers of the ModSquad Blog know, Extra Life is a fundraising event that’s near and dear to us. Gamers of all ages raise sponsorship donations in support of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals during a 24-hour gaming marathon. In 2017 alone, players raised more than $11 million. ModSquad has taken part in this annual event for the past five years, and we’re planning to go even bigger and better next time around.

This March, members of the ModSquad family joined hundreds of other charity gamers at Walt Disney World to participate in Extra Life United, a gathering that brings together fundraising participants from across the nation for four days of games, camaraderie, and fun. To get an inside look at the event, and at ModSquad’s ongoing efforts supporting Extra Life, we spoke with Amy Pritchard, ModSquad’s Founder and CEO; Matt Hostler, ModSquad Account Manager; and Mary Pritchard, avid gamer and Amy’s daughter.

How did ModSquad become involved with Extra Life?

Amy: It started with Matt Hostler. He is entirely responsible for bringing this amazing charitable organization to our awareness five years ago.

Matt: I’d watched game developers and communities participate over the years and always thought it looked like a fun, silly time. I thought, Why isn’t ModSquad doing this? I did some research and talked to people at the Sacramento office. Surprisingly, I found that a bunch of people were also crazy enough to stay up all night playing games!

How has the team’s participation with Extra Life grown over the years?

Matt: I really thought the first year was just going to be about the Sacramento office. Surprisingly, Mods from everywhere tuned in to our live stream to cheer us on. It was humbling. I knew we had to not only keep participating, but go even bigger. Since then, ModSquad has opened two additional offices, and last year we had video feeds from each one of the 24-hour Extra Life gaming marathons. We even had a satellite Extra Life party happening in Tennessee.

Amy: Again, all the credit goes to Matt. He started our involvement and has grown it over the years. This past year, we had a splash page and banner on the website promoting Extra Life. Matt said, “Wow, this feels so official now!”

What makes the Extra Life event stand out?

Mary: It’s a great excuse to be glued to a screen or a board for 24 hours! But seriously, the idea is genius. Who wouldn’t want to play video games for charity?

Matt: Extra Life is about playing games and helping kids. Game communities, developers, blogs, streamers, and everyone else in the industry all come together to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. And it’s a lot of money!

Amy: I met one longtime participant at Extra Life United. His team raised $180,000 last year. He said to me, “A bunch of middle-aged engineers aren’t going to run a marathon for charity. Playing board and video games? Now that I can recruit a lot of coworkers for.”

Tell us about Extra Life United.

Amy: Extra Life United is a game tournament held at Walt Disney World as a part of the Children’s Hospitals Week. ModSquad sponsored Mary to play and raise money. We met the most incredible children that have benefited from Extra Life fundraising and were completely blown away by the passion of everybody involved. We were asked extremely important questions at the beginning of the tournament. Like, is pineapple on pizza okay? (No!) We also had a huge, 200-person round of rock-paper-scissors. I actually made it three rounds in!

Sounds like a fun crowd!

Mary: Oh my gosh, everyone was so cool! I met a ton of new friends and friendly competitors. It didn’t matter that most of them were twice (sometimes thrice) my age.

Amy: I remember Mary’s first event was playing the board game Down Force. She sat down at a table with seven men between 20 and 60 years old. Oh, back up, Mary is 12. It was so funny at first, but they welcomed her as one of them and had a raucous time. The entire rest of the weekend was just as fun.

Meeting Victor and Jo Ellen Enmon was so impactful. Extra Life was started to honor their daughter Victoria, who passed away from leukemia in 2008. One particular friend was Jose, a teacher from L.A.; we still regularly correspond. But the best was meeting the Extra Life Champions. They were the rockstar kids that have benefited from care at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. There was a really fun pin exchange, and Mary got photos with a lot of those champs.

What are ModSquad’s future plans for Extra Life?

Matt: Global domination! It was great to have all of the offices involved last year. But ModSquad is in more than just three cities. We’re everywhere! So now we’re working on how to include more people, play more games, and, most importantly, raise more money! Mark your calendars for November 3, 2018. ModSquad is going bigger than ever!

Mary: I’ll definitely come party with one of the offices come next year!

Amy: We are blowing it up.

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Susie South
Posted on May 2, 2018

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