By Erika Mathieu
Westwind Weekly News
Kaleidoscope youth programming is set to restart their online Dungeons & Dragons (or D&D, for short) club. Kaleidoscope’s programming is catered to youth ages 13-18 who reside within the FCSS service area. Gameplay is carried out over discord, an online platform which enables text, voice, and video chat, in addition file and media sharing. The game, while recreational in nature, provides an opportunity for youth to engage in valuable skill-building experiences while also building community. Family & Community Support Services (FCSS) Youth Inclusion Project Coordinator, Jamie Lewis said, “D&D fits really well with the mandates and goals of Kaleidoscope.”
For many new players, the scope of possibilities in open-ended game play can seem overwhelming. Solly Krygier-Paine, a former resident of Southern Alberta, who currently resides in Montreal, is one of the primary facilitators, or Dungeon Master, for Kaleidoscope’s D&D programming.
Both Lewis and Krygier-Paine spoke to their roles in facilitating an accessible and enjoyable experience for all participants, regardless of experience level. Lewis said the nature of the game functions as a creative outlet, but also promotes skills such as creative engagement, problem solving, and communication skills.
“I’ve watched long-term players open up, trying their hands at more jokes, accents, and meaningful character development as we play. I think the most important skill people can pick up from D&D is learning how to inspire their friends,” Solly said.
Solly is a professional Dungeon Master, a position he works in, in a full-time capacity.
“I run games of D&D for private and public groups of clients, with them usually paying me individually per session. I also stream improvised dungeons & dragons games on Twitch. I’m a freelance, full-time game master. Lewis added, “we are really lucky to have him for this programming.”
Lewis said the primary goal of Kaleidoscope is to foster inclusive spaces where youth are not required to, “withhold aspects of their identities or perform,” inauthentic parts of themselves. They said the imaginative and collaborative aspects of game-play helps foster a space of belonging.
“I want to emphasize that kids are very creative and young peoples ability to problem solve or find in-game solutions is often more creative than my adult clients,” Krygier-Paine added.
The access creativity-based skill-building is an important aspect of all of Kaleidoscope’s programming. Lewis added that D&D promotes socializing, creative problem solving, and communication. In recent years more companies are incorporating one-time D&D sessions into their team-building activities. In both adult and youth contexts, the game allows opportunity to work collaboratively in a context with encourages creativity.
The nice thing about D&D is that it is an equalizer(…)D&D has a little something for everyone. What makes it so fun for most people is the cooperative story that’s told,” Solly added.
Lewis added the importance of freedom in creativity and said the world-building aspects of the game are advantageous to participants. Solly agreed describing the game as, “spontaneous moments of hilarity and drama, mixed with an overarching story and the randomness of the dice, that makes each story unique – and one you’ll be describing to your friends wide-eyed for years.”
Kaleidoscope offers youth programming for youth 13-18 within the FCSS Service area for a minimal or no charge through the support of municipal and provincial funding. For more information about Kaleidoscopes programming and to register head over to https://fcss.ca/program/854.