The Full Inside Story of the #ClubPenguinSummit

Club Penguin Summit

A couple weeks ago, I was familiar with the website Club Penguin but it didn’t jump out at me as something I should go out of my way to introduce to my children.

Janice’s boy Jackson, now age 11, has played Club Penguin for a few years, but my 5 and 7 year old girls hadn’t yet spent much time online.

So when I was invited to attend the Club Penguin Summit to learn more about kids online safety along with a special presentation about cyberbullying, I decided to go.

Wow, am I ever glad I attended!

I learned an incredible amount about how Club Penguin acts as a safe and fun introduction to social media and online gaming. I tweeted non-stop during the 2 day event and published a a quick post on the first night of the event.

Now I have gathered together a complete collection of my tweets and photos using the website Storify to create a full story of the summit.

As you read through the following story, you will join us on the journey inside Club Penguin, see the headquarters and learn from the presentations by the leadership team. I’ve included most of the presentation slides except those we were asked not to share because of trade secrets or privacy restrictions.

Club Penguin Summit

The #ClubPenguinSummit at Club Penguin’s headquarters in Kelowna was a 2 day media event held for approximately 20 bloggers and reporters.

Storified by 5minutesformom· Mon, Apr 15 2013 01:06:26

Club Penguin is a fascinating virtual world that’s created and carefully monitored to allow kids a safe introduction to social media and gaming. 
The media summit held April 11th and 12th, 2013 was the first time reporters or bloggers have been invited into Club Penguin’s headquarters.
For a list of Twitter profiles for bloggers on the trip, follow this public Twitter List.
And the snowball fight begins. Okay, not really. #ClubPenguinSummit
Landed in #Kelowna and I’m ready to meet some Puffles in person. But first a nap in my igloo. #ClubPenguinSummit
I’m looking forward to learning more about online safety for kids and the @clubpenguin game today at the #ClubPenguinSummit ~Sue5minutesformom

Club Penguin Headquarters in Kelowna

What a fun entrance to the @ClubPenguin headquarters. #ClubPenguinSummit
The staff at #clubpenguin are so enthusiastic and genuinely love kids. #clubpenguinsummit
Looks like the penguins knew we were coming. #ClubPenguinSummit
The #clubpenguin headquarters bring the game to life & school classes come for tours weekly.…
Puffle Seat anyone? These are too cute. #ClubPenguinSummit
Drawing on the walls is allowed at #clubpenguin – well, not really. #clubpenguinsummit
The #clubpenguin theater is the most fun meeting room ever! #clubpenguinsummit

The Presentations Begin in the Club Penguin Theatre

Chris Heatherly, VP/GM Disney Interactive Worlds is a great sport & plays #clubpenguin as penguin…
Chris Heatherly, VP/GM Disney Interactive Worlds takes the stage and introduces us to his Penguin “Spike Hike”.
Spike Hike is the penguin Chris Heatherly, VP/GM Disney Interactive Worlds created w his son #ClubPenguinSummit
Chris emphasizes that this is the first time media has been invited inside their offices and been shown this type of information about how they run Club Penguin. We’re asked to keep certain parts of the presentations off record.
They are "opening the igloo" here and sharing the inside story of how they run #ClubPenguin #ClubPenguinSummit
Snapshot of the history of #ClubPenguin #ClubPenguinSummit
Wow! 200,000,000 penguins have been created. Played in over 190 countries. #ClubPenguinSummit
They have a 50/50 gender split. Boys and girls both play the same way. Penguins don’t have gender. #ClubPenguinSummit
Now Question for parents is not should my kids be online but how do I prepare my kids for a social world. #ClubPenguinSummit5minutesformom

Club Penguin Puts Kids First in 4 Major Ways

1. Imaginative Play
2. Safety
3. Community
4. Social Good
Club Penguin is like "the empty cardboard box" where kids use imagination to create play. #ClubPenguinSummit
Playing @clubpenguin is about being yourself online, not necessarily "cool" or trying to be "popular" #Kids #ClubPenguinSummit5minutesformom
They r giving kids tools to use their own creativity to build their own play environments. #ClubPenguinSummit
Safety is key. They have 200+ moderators worldwide in 5 languages. #ClubPenguinSummit
They have highly sophisticated chat – world’s most safe chat. #ClubPenguinSummit
Club penguin is more than a game. It is a community and ideas from kids r key in developing it. #ClubPenguinSummit
#ClubPenguin community includes their official blog, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook Parent page. #ClubPenguinSummit
The Club Penguin community is expanded through other social media channels both by fans creating and sharing CP related material, but also through the company’s official channels.
While many fans do talk about Club Penguin on Facebook, there is only an official Facebook page for parents as the age demographic of primary users is 8 – 12 years old and Facebook requires users to be at least 13 years of age.
Empower kids to make world better & kids can donate coins to charity. Over $10,000,000 donated #ClubPenguinSummit
"Philanthropy isn’t just something we say, it’s something we do" via @clubpenguin #clubpenguinsummitCaryn Bailey

Club Penguin 101 – Cheryl Gerbrandt, Creative Lead

Charity Gerbrandt is Creative Lead. Grasstain is her penguin. #ClubPenguinSummit
Essence of @clubpenguin is empowerment, community and humor. #ClubPenguinSummit
4 things to do in #ClubPenguin. Role play, socialize, customize and play games. #ClubPenguinSummit
Puffle pets are a big part of #ClubPenguin & both boys & girls show nurturing play patterns #ClubPenguinSummit
They have a set of resident characters that exist to help drive narrative. #ClubPenguinSummit
They have staff go online & play these characters & is so exciting 4 kids to meet them online #ClubPenguinSummit
A major part of playing in #ClubPenguin is customization as shown by this player’s igloo #ClubPenguinSummit
Kids role play and act out what they see in real life. #ClubPenguinSummit
They release new content every week so something exciting is always happening. #ClubPenguinSummit5minutesformom
Average play time is 30 – 45 min at a time. Most active days are weekends. #ClubPenguinSummit5minutesformom
Many kids become influencers and have outside blogs and twitter profiles & have a major impact on community play. #clubpenguinsummit5minutesformom
Chris Heatherly explains that ideas that come from the #kids are often the most successful. #ClubPenguinSummit

How Club Penguin Keeps Kids Safe Online

Online safety for kids is hugely important at Club Penguin and they invest heavily in the necessary technical and human resources to ensure kids stay safe while playing.
Gerard Poitras, Head of Online Safety shares how #ClubPenguin keeps kids safe in a virtual world. #ClubPenguinSummit
3 pillars of #safety: human interaction, tech & tools & education #ClubPenguinSummit
#ClubPenguin has a set of rules kids must agree to: respect, chat nicely etc #ClubPenguinSummit
#ClubPenguin has moderators in 4 locations over world & in 5 languages. #ClubPenguinSummit
If a kid breaks a rule, mod boots them off server temp. More serious then 24hr ban, 72hr then perm #ClubPenguinSummit
Through your #parent account, you can watch your child’s activity online. #ClubPenguinSummit5minutesformom
Each penguin name is individually approved. Until its approved the penguin is given numerical name #clubpenguinsummit
Ultimate Safe chat is great for young or beginner users and allows child to select phrases to use. #ClubPenguinSummit
Standard Safe chat provides an intermediate way for kids to talk & interact #ClubPenguinSummit
Kids can choose to ignore other penguins & they won’t see their conversations #ClubPenguinSummit
Parents have a parent account and there r FAQ and tools. #ClubPenguinSummit
The DisneyParentApp helps #parents communicate w kids by giving tips & secret #ClubPenguin info #ClubPenguinSummit
A global security team works 24/7 to provide intervention for these serious situations #clubpenguinsummit
In order for kids to be successful in society they need to learn how to use the internet in a responsible manner. #ClubPenguinSummit❤Shelby Barone❤

Tour of Club Penguin Headquarters

We continue our tour of the Club Penguin offices and are inspired by more artwork and a fun workspace.
@mooshinindy getting into the scene at #clubpenguinsummit
Group shot fun with the puffles. #ClubPenguinSummit
Stopping for a shot with jenniferjames and some #Puffles at #clubpenguinsummit
Keep Calm and Waddle On #clubpenguin #clubpenguinsummit
Love this #advice from #Disney Interactive Media Group #ClubPenguinSummit
Enjoying the #clubpenguinsummit tour w yoyomamadotca
Norrie is the man behind the sounds of #ClubPenguin #clubpenguinsummit

Guest Experiences

In the guest experiences department, staff carefully review each new Penguin name to ensure it is safe and meets naming rules. To learn more about the task, we get hands on job experience.
We r getting a chance to experience a real job in the Guest Experience department at #ClubPenguinSummit
Testing out life in the #clubpenguin Guest Experience Department during #clubpenguinsummit
Mom Babbles is my new Penguin #clubpenguinsummit

Club Penguin’s Social Media Team

Chris Gliddon, who is affectionately known by CP fans as his Penguin’s name “Polo Field”, shares how he coordinates the official social media communication with the huge fan community.
I have to say, that @PoloField is such an authentic, sincere voice for Club Penguin and his passion for helping kids learn while having fun in a safe online environment almost brought tears to my eyes.
Chris Glidden from the Social Media team is sharing about community. #ClubPenguinSummit
The ABCs of #community are similar to #parenting #ClubPenguinSummit
#ClubPenguin is a social equalizer where kids can be accepted. It is a social network in itself. #clubpenguinsummit5minutesformom
#ClubPenguin loves receiving player #art. This was fan art for a project in #Haiti #ClubPenguinSummit
#ClubPenguin uses a blog as well as YouTube, Facebook & Twitter to communicate w community #ClubPenguinSummit
The only limit is the Community’s #imagination. #ClubPenguinSummit

Club Penguin Takes Social Good Seriously

Now it’s time to talk about #Citizenship and social good #ClubPenguinSummit5minutesformom
Nicole Rustad is sharing now about the social good work that #ClubPenguin does #ClubPenguinSummit
Approach to social good – empowering employees, inspiring audience, impacting children globally #ClubPenguinSummit
"Kids can change the world through connected play" Nicole Rustad #ClubPenguinSummit5minutesformom
Coins for Change is #ClubPenguin program to get kids involved deciding where to give #ClubPenguinSummit
Last yr kids donated over 13.7 billion in virtual coins. #CoinsForChange #ClubPenguinSummit
#ClubPenguin is a big sponsor of #WeDay which empowers kids to volunteer & change the world #ClubPenguinSummit5minutesformom
Club Penguin & Free the Children nurtures kids helping kids #clubpenguinsummit @clubpenguin❤Shelby Barone❤
We are watching powerful videos showing work done by #FeedTheChildren Huge portion of funding is coming from #youth #ClubPenguinSummit5minutesformom
You don’t have to wait until you are an adult to make an impact on the world w/social good #ClubPenguinSummit❤Shelby Barone❤
The first day of the summit ends with videos of the inspirational work Club Penguin is doing helping children all over the world.

1st Post at About Club Penguin Summit

Later that night, I publish a quick post about the summit 
A Fascinating Look Inside #ClubPenguin… #ClubPenguinSummit5minutesformom

Day 2 of #ClubPenguinSummit

The second day of the summit includes a few morning presentations and a Q&A session. 
Excited for this mornings presentations here at the #clubpenguinsummit5minutesformom
Day 2 of the #ClubPenguinSummit kicks off.

NetSmartz Workshop

Time for NetSmartz Workshop – a program of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children #ClubPenguinSummit
NetSmartz uses creative, engaging characters to teach kids about online safety. #ClubPenguinSafety
NetSmartz creates presentations and info material to teach kids about role of bystanders in #bullying. #clubpenguinsummit5minutesformom
Foundation for safe Internet use can be set at age 5/6 starting with netiquette. Using manners, being kind. #ClubPenguinSummitAmy Heinz
How you talk about online safety starts w younger kids using diff lang diff issues than older kids #ClubPenguinSummit
NetSmartzKids Characters used to teach young kids online safety #ClubPenguinSummit
Discussing #cyberbullying and the tragic #AmandaTodd story. #ClubPenguinSummit5minutesformom
NetSmartz uses cartoon videos and online books to teach kids about #netiquette. #ClubPenguinSummit5minutesformom uses cartoon videos to reach kids about #netiquette #clubpenguinsummit
NetSmartz w their partnership #ClubPenguinSummit put together comprehensive teacher & school resources
Num 1 rule to teach #kids… Do not share personal & private info online. #ClubPenguinSummit #parents5minutesformom
Canadian Center for Child Protection and Kids Help Phone provide similar resources to #NetSmartz in #Canada #clubpenguinsummit #bullying5minutesformom
Submit: The Documentary. @CommonSenseMedia review: #clubpenguinsummit #cyberbullying5minutesformom

Club Penguin Monthly Theme Parties

#ClubPenguin hosts monthly theme parties w sets & props 4 kids to create role playing stories #ClubPenguinSummit
Eg SuperHero #Marvel takeover – its a virtual playground where kids make up stories and play #ClubPenguinSummit
Kids r given a small set of elements & simple story
We r getting #CPSneakPeeks at new party artwork and games. Stay tuned here for photos #clubpenguinsummit5minutesformom
Sneak peek artwork for #ClubPenguin April party releasing Apr 25 #ClubPenguinSummit #Kids
Screen 2 Sneak peek artwork for #ClubPenguin April party releasing Apr 25 #ClubPenguinSummit #Kids
Screen 3 Sneak peek artwork for #ClubPenguin April party releasing Apr 25 #ClubPenguinSummit #Kids
Sneak peek finalized artwork for #ClubPenguin May party #ClubPenguinSummit #Kids
Sneak peek final artwork for #ClubPenguin May party #ClubPenguinSummit #Kids
Sneak peek concept artwork for #ClubPenguin May party #ClubPenguinSummit #Kids
Screen 2 Sneak peek concept artwork for #ClubPenguin May party #ClubPenguinSummit #Kids
Sneak peek final artwork for #ClubPenguin May party #ClubPenguinSummit #Kids
Secret item for Super hero party is in the hero game. It is a white hoodie. Have to get to end of game #ClubPenguin #clubpenguinsummit5minutesformom
Sneak peek concept artwork for #ClubPenguin June party #ClubPenguinSummit #Kids
Rare item for Super hero party is in the hero game. It is a white hoodie. Have to get to end of game #ClubPenguin #clubpenguinsummit5minutesformom

Artists in Action

Club Penguin’s talented artists bring it’s virtual world to life… and we get to see them in action and take a sample home.
#ClubPenguin artists drawing penguins for us to take home. #ClubPenguinSummit
A #ClubPenguin artist drawing a penguin for us to take home. #ClubPenguinSummit
My own custom #ClubPenguin drawing to take home. #ClubPenguinSummit
Creating #penguins live in action artist at #ClubPenguin #ClubPenguinSummit

Q&A with Club Penguin

Q&A time to wrap up the #ClubPenguinSummit
@SaraaprilinCP sure go ahead & use my photos & tweets if u want u can link to my blog #clubpenguinsummit5minutesformom
Charity Gerbrandt, Creative Lead, penguin "Grasstain" & Chris Glidden "Polo Field" #clubpenguinsummit
@King15199CP yes. There will be a new #ClubPenguin mascot but they will not say when. #clubpenguinsummit5minutesformom
@Pingu17174 yes he and all the others LOVE working here and love all you fans. They truly appreciate the fan interaction #clubpenguinsummit5minutesformom
I am sincerely impressed with the culture and values demonstrated by the #ClubPenguin staff. A truly quality company. #clubpenguinsummit5minutesformom
@CaptainObiCp someone asked about a Star Wars party but they didn’t say whether or not there will ever be one. #clubpenguinsummit5minutesformom
@Iyaz201CP I didn’t get a chance to tell @polo his glasses r cool but I agree. He is also the coolest, nicest guy ever. #clubpenguinsummit5minutesformom
@Superoo13 they talked about some of the programs in Haiti supported by Coins for Change5minutesformom

Thank You Club Penguin

@DjStoresCP yes. I truly had a fantastic time. The team loves their work & their passion is infectious. Learned tons. #clubpenguinsummit5minutesformom
With @mooshinindy at #clubpenguin headquarters for #clubpenguinsummit
Thank you to all the #ClubPenguin fans who asked questions and retweeted. Your enthusiasm is inspiring. #clubpenguinsummit5minutesformom
Huge thanks to the entire #ClubPenguin team and #Disney for welcoming us inside their virtual world. #clubpenguinsummit5minutesformom
Thanks for all the #clubpenguinsummit retweets. I often blog about #bullying pls share link to http://www.5minutesformom/bullying5minutesformom
Okay, I have to log off for now. I’ll be getting on a plane soon. Thanks for all the tweets. Waddle on. #clubpenguinsummit ~Susan5minutesformom
At home now playing #ClubPenguin with my kids. #clubpenguinsummit5minutesformom

View my #ClubPenguinSummit story on

Disclosure: My travel and accommodation expenses were covered by Disney for me to attend the summit.

Written by Susan Carraretto, co-founder of 5 Minutes for Mom
Talk with me: @5minutesformom and
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  1. says

    My 9yo has loved Club Penguin for over a year now. While at first I was hesitant, and a bit scared for him to be on Club Penguin, I now enjoy his interaction with the site, which has been nothing but positive. He collects puffles, plush, writes poems (!) about Club Penguin, and even draws pictures of Club Penguin. He just loves it.

  2. says

    My daughter will be so jealous when she reads this. Her dream is to visit the Club Penguin headquarters! Maybe in the future they will consider a #ClubPenguinSummit for kid bloggers. Her blog is

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