Activities For The Civic Geek: Demonstrations And Presentations

Teaching is one thing, but sometimes the most educational thing is to see something in action – then learn how to do it!  That’s where demonstrations and presentations come in.

I’m all for we civic geeks giving panels and teaching, for doing hands-on work.  But sometimes the most educational – and fun – thing to do is to do demonstrations and presentations as part of an educational initiative.  Show something in action, then tell people how to do it – it’s fun, and in some cases a lot easier to get educated after you have an idea of how cool the thing you’re doing is.

A good presentation/demonstration works like this:

  1. You actually show off something in action – like say a costume or repair skills.
  2. You demonstrate how it works and how it’s done.
  3. You get people involved in figuring out how to do it.

It’s more complex than a class or a workshop because you and your compatriots actually have to show stuff off – and if what you’re trying to teach people is something complicated, extensive, or acrobatic you’ll need space, time, talent, and possible insurance.  A lot more preparation is involved.

The advantage of all of this is that it gets people’s attention, they learn quicker, and it’s fantastic publicity for your group, convention, and so on.  It draws people in and that means they get educated and you get to be a good civic geek.

Here’s a few ideas to get you going:

  • A cosplay group could not only demonstrate costumes, they could assemble one – then teach people useful and fun costuming and clothes skills.
  • A group of computer enthusiasts could quickly break down or assemble a computer then show people how to do it directly.
  • A writer’s group could demonstrate self-publishing and formatting – all you need is a good overhead and computer.
  • Even if the skills you or your group want to teach are abstract you can act them out.

Good demonstrations and presentations take being a training-oriented civic geek farther.  Give them a try.

  • Steve

Activities For The Civic Geek: Health Initiatives

Health issues are always important.  For geeks, we’re no different than anyone else – but we also have our own unique challenges, interests, and opportunities.

Geeks and health have a complex relationship in my experience.  Some people are health geeks, practicing carefully-researched techniques to improve health, often fascinated by the science (like me).  Some joyously celebrate the idea of pizza and caffeine as a lifestyle (especially at a con).  Some people are drawn to geekdom as health problems limited their physical options – and they pursued the intellectual.  Yet others love to cosplay – and really want to loose those last ten pounds.

Health is an issue to everyone, and to we geeks we have a few special, unique concerns and inclinations.  So if you want to be a Civic Geek, consider serving the health of the geek community.  You just need to find what works for you:

  • If you have knowledge of healthy diets and practices, perhaps you can share it.  From effective geeky cooking to tips for exercise in a busy life, perhaps you can speak at events or even lead your local geek group in healthy practices.
  • If you’re aware of specific health concerns, you can speak on that as well.  Or you could try forming a support group among your fellow geeks who have similar concerns.
  • Health support is very important at conventions, events, and so on.  Perhaps you can lead, get involved, or even invite organizations to help out.
  • Depending on your given inclinations, maybe you or your con or club will get involved in public health issues, such as technology and support.
  • There’s charities that focus on health issues that may need assistance – and some are looking for technical and social solutions you and your fellows might be able to help with.

There’s many, many ways you can take being a civic geek for health.

A lot of these efforts can also tie into other interests.  Citizen science can tie into health issues.  You can cosplay to raise money to fight a given disease.  There’s a lot of options to promote good health as a Civic Geek.



  • Operation Hammond – A network of medical professionals and trained people that provide medical services for conventions and staff training.


  • Limbitless Solutions – Technologists of all kinds coming together to develop low-cost/free prosthetic solutions!

Activities For The Civic Geek: Promote Space Exploration

There are few things more geeky than space exploration.  So gear up and geek out to help us get to the stars.

Space may be the final frontier.  Exploring space has given us many scientific benefits.  But sometimes it seems we forget the value of space travel and get distracted by issues here on earth – forgetting that everything from weather satellites to new technology to the unifying drive to explore benefit us now.

Space travel also requires advocacy.  It’s expensive.  It’s hard work.  It’s often riven with politics.

If you’re any kind of geek you probably support more, better, and frankly expanded space travel.  If you’re a specific kind of geek you probably are really a supporter.  So help you and your fellow geeks promote space exploration.

You could:

  • Invite people to speak on it at various geek events – what’s a good convention without a discussion of space travel?
  • Support some of the causes listed below – or join them.  Everyone needs help.
  • Find local events sponsored by various space-supporting group and get your friends and geek groups to go there.

We’re not going to get off the planet waiting for someone else to do it for us.

But you can make a difference.


  • 100 Year Starship – They want humanity to be able to leave the solar system by the 22nd century.  Speaking, events, advocacy, and more.
  • Centennial Challenge – A NASA event to help develop new space technology.  If you’re not in the US there’s probably similar groups in your country.
  • Penny 4 Nasa – A group working to raise awareness of NASA, get increases in funding, and promote space exploration. If you’re not in the US there’s probably similar groups in your country.
  • Planetary Society – Sponsors charities, events, advocacy, and projects to promote space exploration.