Laboratory of Games

November 1-8, 2019 – Larnaca, Cyprus

This week, three of L’Orma’s participants were in Larnaca, Cyprus for a Training Course on Laboratory of Games, organized by Neci EU. The aim of this training course was to provide Youthworkers from around the EU with the necessary tools to use a variety of games for the purpose of non-formal education, as well as be able to develop their own. The training course was composed of 8 partner countries (Spain, Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Romania, Portugal, Estonia and Bulgaria) and counted 23 participants total.
The first three days of the training course were heavy on theory, to give participants the background necessary to use the right game at the right time by understanding their target group. Some of the theory covered was on how to lead a game, how to recognize a leader in a group or what the characteristics are of youngsters at different ages. This theory would also be used in the laboratory later on in the week, where participants were free to develop their own game. Participants already started putting this newly gained knowledge into practice in between the theory sessions when they started playing a variety of different games, ranging from energizers to teambuilding activities. These three days were concluded with a simulation game, where, for about an hour, participants were visitors of an imaginary bar in Cyprus that had a very interesting of customers (ranging from health inspectors to a circus worker with her monkey). Through this simulation, participants, who had been left to organize themselves without a clear leader, came to understand what happens when a group of youngsters finds themselves in a similarly unsupervised situation. The intercultural nights were held on two of the nights, where participants introduced each other to their countries of origin.

On day four, participants were able to renew their childhood interest in boardgames through a special guest, who came to explain to them the evolution of board games in human history and their purpose. After an enlightening presentation, it was the participants’ turn to play! The speaker brought plenty of board games with him to have the participants experience them, which meant the morning ended with a whole lot of fun. In the afternoon, participants were free to go explore Larnaca and its surroundings, while some even went as far as Nicosia.
On the morning of day five, participants were introduced to Lapta, a version of baseball played in Estonia. The game was played on the beach and was an excellent opportunity to learn about a traditional sports game played in a different culture. Amidst the friendly fun and friendly competition, it was also a great teambuilding experience. In the afternoon, another guest speaker was present, who explained to participants the possibility of learning through computer games. In the evening, it was time to discover some more local culture, through a dinner at a traditional restaurant with traditional dance and music!

Day 6 and day 7 were the days that a lot of participants had been looking forward to: on day 7 in the morning, they would visit a special school in Larnaca and do activities with 20 of their students. In order to do this, all of day 6 was dedicated to working out the individual activities and organising themselves as a group, to be 150% prepared to deal with unexpected events if they were to happen. When they got to the school on Friday morning, the students had prepared traditional dances and songs to show to the participants. After that, it was time for games! Thanks to the knowledge gathered over the previous week, the participants were able to coordinate all activities well and it was a morning of great fun for everyone! Once they got back to the hotel, Friday afternoon was dedicated to reflection of the training course as a whole, and in the evening, participants were handed over their YouthPasses.

Early on Saturday morning, it was time for the Italian participants to get to the airport to begin their journey back home. They did so with their heads full of new knowledge and experience, ready to start a new chapter in their life as youthworkers!

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