A guest blog by Dale LeFevre
In short, New Games are cooperative group games (no computers or video games involved!) which include all people regardless of their age, size, gender, physical or mental ability. Anyone can play New Games – if they want to. No-one is ever forced to participate. I remember an older man in Stockholm, Sweden, was watching us play from across the street. I saw him and invited him to join. He shook his head ‘no’. A bit later I noticed he was on our side of the street, still watching intently. Again, I invited him, again he said no. The next thing I noticed, he had joined us! Later he said that when I had invited him, he thought “I’m too old.” Finally, he said he thought to himself, “I’m not too old,” and joined us.
The healing power of New Games
New Games can also be very healing. When my mother died, I was basically not able to do anything for a month. I sat in my room and looked out over the park across the street a lot. At last I realized I needed to work again and start with the psychiatric day care centre which also bordered that same park. I had postponed my appearance there and knew I had to do this work. We set a date and I appeared to lead the games with the clients. When I arrived, I learned that one of the groups had jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge the week before, committing suicide. The group was understandably shaken.
I was seated and when I was introduced, I just didn’t have the impetus to get up, the first and only time that has happened to me. After a while – it seemed like 5 minutes but was probably only 30 seconds – one of the men asked, “Are we going to play?” To this I answered, “I hope so,” but that expression of interest was enough to get me going. After a game or two, I suggested that we go across to the park, the one I’d been staring into, since it was a nice day. For two hours we played, and by the end we all had taken a much-needed break from our grief. It was refreshing for me to feel joy and laughter again. It was very healing, and it seemed to be so for the clients as well.
Try New Games for yourself
To end, I just want to say that for me, even though I’ve presented New Games so many times, something new always happens. And I’m always learning, not just new New Games, but ways to present them. Someone will say “Hey, how about if we used 2 balls?” in a game that had always had just one. Almost invariably, we’ll try it. Sometimes it flops. Sometimes it makes it a better game. My job is to be open to possibilities and ideas of fellow players. It’s a lot of fun for me.
To try New Games for yourself, or to see how it could be incorporated into your company or education facility, come to our day workshop with Dale.
Saturday March 16th 2019. 10am until 3pm at the Burton Street Foundation. £150 for the full day. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Book here: https://www.amindapart.org.uk/training/