The meaning of Community in Magic

The Meaning of Community in Magic

Anna VolbrechtCommunity, Fundraiser

Magic has its fair share of luminaries — faces we all know and perspectives we all care about. We gather inspiration from Rhystic Studies videos and the musings of Mark Rosewater. We marvel at the plays of Pro Tour champions and crack packs alongside the LoadingReadyRun crew. These individuals help shape the Magic community and give us a place to belong.

However, the MTG community is filled with incredible people whom you may not know — people who bring Magic to life and embody the spirit of the game. I’d like to introduce you to one, today. 

Meet Kaden.

Kaden and his parents visiting Mox Boarding House in Seattle, WA

Sharing A Love of Magic

In many ways, Kaden is like many other Magic players. An 11th grader from Redmond, WA, Kaden plays Limited and JumpStart with his friends. 

“All that matters to me is playing Magic with my friends on camping trips and having fun,” Kaden said. 

Kaden also loves creating digital art and is a member of Boy Scout Troop 520. He has been part of the Boy Scouts since he was in first grade.

So, when Kaden began designing his Eagle Scout project, he wanted to give back in a way that was fun and unique. After doing some research, he connected with MagiKids — an education nonprofit that provides free Magic cards and supplies to teachers across the United States.   

The idea behind MagiKids is simple but powerful: collect unwanted Magic cards and use them to teach kids how to play. Donated cards are used to create MagiKids kits that are sent out, free-of-charge, to teachers, librarians and youth group mentors. 

In fact, any adult willing to lead a group of Magic learners can apply at the Resource Center. The Sort, Build, Play Curriculum developed by MagiKids also helps strengthen critical thinking, practice math skills and build confidence, all while creating a welcoming and accepting community for kids everywhere.

MagiKids needs two things to be successful — an engaged community of teachers, librarians, and mentors who request and use these kits and an abundance of Magic cards. This is where Kaden comes in.

A Community Effort

Kaden set out to collect 50,000 Magic cards to donate to MagiKids. He started by going to the source: Magic players. Using his digital art skills and a knack for advertising, Kaden reached out to local game stores, Facebook groups and Reddit communities to ask for support. He designed flyers, helped coordinate card drives and organized multiple ways to donate cards. The community came out in strides to help Kaden reach his goal.

After a few weeks of gathering cards, Kaden had not only reached his goal, but more than tripled it — collecting over 160,000 Magic cards to donate. Even Wizards of the Coast got in on the action, donating 144 starter kits and a variety of commander decks, booster boxes and other products.

Next, Kaden needed to sort the donated cards by color to make it easier to process them and build the MagiKids kits. Kaden demonstrated true leadership skills, coordinating more than 28 volunteers over three days to get the cards sorted. In the end, Kaden brought an entire carload of cards to the Card Kingdom warehouse — which partners with MagiKids to build and ship the kits.

Kaden with the shipping kits for MagiKids

These cards will help build hundreds of kits that can be sent out to schools and other youth groups around the country. With such an influx of cards, MagiKids is now looking for more applications for kits!

Building A Community for Everyone

The success of Kaden’s project is a testament to his creativity, leadership, and flexibility — all the characteristics of the best Magic players. And the community showed its best side with its enthusiastic support.

A final thing to know about Kaden: he is autistic. He selected MagiKids in part because they also work with the autism community

“I think it should be autistic people supporting each other,” Kaden said. “I hope the donations from my project will help more kids learn Magic, increase their social skills and build friendships, like Magic did for me.”  

Magic: The Gathering represents many different things to many different people. Some love it for the challenge of deck building. Some love it for the art. Some love it for the experience of playing a game with friends. But for me, this is the epitome of Magic: The Gathering: fun, community and a sense of belonging. If you’re looking for a new Magic role model, look no further than Kaden.