Late last year, Latrobe Health Assembly led some board game sessions at Latrobe Youth Space as part of their Hello. campaign which focuses on increasing social connection within the community. These sessions revealed an interest from local young people looking to try their hand at Dungeons & Dragons.
Dungeons & Dragons (or D&D) is a fantasy tabletop roleplaying game that has made waves worldwide since it launched back in the 70s. The game sees players create their own characters before setting out on an adventure as a team, guided by a Dungeon Master, to explore and use problem solving and to engage in battles.
Bond & Wild Co, an organisation providing interest-based support, specialising in tabletop games, volunteered their time to run D&D sessions at Latrobe Youth Space. The organisations founder, Aleksei Bondarenko-Edwards draws on his own experience with ADHD to share the power of interest-based support and how to model positive behaviour, diversity and inclusion within these spaces.
“The young people have really responded well to the sessions and have already been putting their hands up to take on leadership roles in the program, including mentoring their peers on how to play the game. This is exactly the sort of outcome we look for in the early stages of any program and I am just as excited as the participants to keep playing!” says Aleksei.
Following the success of the first 3-hour session in December last year, a second 6-hour session was run bringing in up to 40 participants in total.
“Partnering with organisations like Latrobe Youth Space to support our young people in coming together, making new friends, and even slaying some dragons is an important part of what we do at Latrobe Health Assembly — thinking outside of the box to find new ways for our community to connect with each other is something we try to embed in our work every day,” says Tanya Rong, Chair of the Latrobe Health Assembly.
Due to the incredible turnout, Latrobe Youth Space and Bond & Wild Co are exploring ways to implement regular sessions of D&D going forward – providing a safe environment for local young people to come together, learn new skills and meet new people.
“After the last few years, it’s taken quite some time for all of us to emerge and join back in on social opportunities again. That’s why Youth Space has loved hosting D&D, seeing so many young locals come together with a shared passion, make new friends, learn new skills, improve communication, and have fun with peers they may not have otherwise crossed paths, has been wonderful to be a part of. Nothing like a shared passion to bring people together,” says Latrobe Youth Space CEO, Sandy Hegarty.
For more information on upcoming events at Latrobe Youth Space, visit https://www.latrobeyouthspace.org.au/
To get in touch with Aleksei from Bond & Wild Co, visit https://www.bondandwild.com.au/