In 2012, entrepreneur Jon Ramer told me about an idea he had. Called the Compassion Games, Jon conceptualized the idea after the mayor of Louisville, Kentucky challenged Seattle to a friendly competition to determine which city was the most compassionate. Jon thought I might be interested in creating a “game” for what he was calling the “coopetition” (cooperative competition) between the cities.
In response, I adapted one of my kindness classes into a format that would work within the structure of the games. Instead of students completing assignments, I referred to the players as “agents” who would complete “missions.”
The games expanded to include more cities in 2013 and I took my agent and mission idea even further, this time calling the game the “Secret Agent of Compassion.” Daily missions were modeled on the old “Mission: Impossible” TV show of the 1960’s, posted from the “headquarters” of the “International Kindness Team.” Seattle media played along and created a story that appeared on local TV, and my artist friend Fish Astronaut created the first of his many drawings for the games.
Since 2013, the Compassion Games have expanded to include several additional “coopetitions.” I contributed additional missions for the games in 2014 and 2015, along with missions for World Interfaith Harmony Week in 2015. I now serve as a “Legacy Supporter” of the games, while Jon continues to be their chief catalyst.
Since starting in 2012, Jon reports that the Compassion Games have involved 500,000 volunteers who have served over 5,400,000 people in 40 countries.