In this new, limited blog series, “20 Ways to Collect While Stuck at Home,” we offer ideas for enjoying your collection at times when a standard hobby experience is not possible. Illness, financial constraints, or any number of factors might temporarily keep collectors from participating as they normally would, but that does not mean that their hobby needs to be put on hold.
While the trading card hobby is as strong (if not stronger) than ever before, there is one area in which it seems to fall short. That is bringing in younger generations and getting them interested in collecting cards. Some folks say that the kids have been priced out, as packs of cards are just too expensive. Others believe this to be a technology issue, stating that cards are just not exciting enough for kids today. Still more feel that many kids are now more interested in non-traditional sports like skateboarding, surfing, dirt bike racing and parkour than baseball, basketball, football or hockey.
The truth is likely some combination of all three, with a little bit of the unknown mixed in for good measure. But that doesn’t mean that kids today can’t still enjoy trading cards. It just means that they don’t yet.
Start a Collecting Club
I think that the lower number of kids participating in our hobby today can at least be partly attributed to the idea that the trading card world can seem vast and confusing to the new collector. With no one to show them the proverbial ropes, I think that kids might turn away from collecting because they simply don’t know where or how to begin.
Collectors could help alleviate that issue by forming collecting clubs that meet regularly to discuss cards, participate in breaks, organize group PSA submissions and introduce potential collectors to the hobby.
What is a Collecting Club?
Collecting clubs are small organizations that get together under the auspices of card collecting to meet new people, share collecting ideas, buy, sell and trade cards, and generally build a sense of community within the hobby.
My high school had a collecting club and it was fun for my friends and I to attend the weekly meetings in the classroom of our teacher/club leader. We talked cards, did some trading, split costs on unopened boxes and generally got to know people that we might not have if it weren’t for cards. Most of the people in our club already collected cards, and we also had a few that joined because they wanted to learn about the hobby and our group proved to be an excellent resource for the beginner.
Groups to Contact
A collecting club is an excellent thing for a child and parent/guardian to participate in, and I would encourage people to attend in such groups, especially if the club is not done under the auspices of a YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, or similar organization.
If you are interested in starting a collecting club in your community, the following organizations would be good places to advertise for new members and potential spots to host meetings:
- Boys & Girls Clubs
- Churches or other religious organizations
- Youth sports team, clubs and leagues
- Community centers
- Sporting goods stores
- Businesses that encourage patron interaction, like restaurants and coffee shops
- Your local card shop
Of course a collecting club could have a narrow focus, such as only basketball or Pokémon, but at least in the beginning it is a good idea to welcome potential card collectors of all interests. Help new members to build firm foundations within the hobby, if they do not already have them. Above all, make the club fun, educational, and a safe place that kids can go to enjoy a new hobby. They may not all become lifelong collectors, but you can still give them an opportunity to learn something new and expand their horizons a bit beyond what they are today.