New Games Brings Joy Without Competitiveness

Every week directors Ashley Kniola and Valerie Gonzales meet at Library Circle to head out to after school programs at Alice Birney Elementary and Trillium Charter School. Volunteers in the program lead games that encourage kids to have fun without being competitive, so that they can learn to express themselves in a positive way. Valerie says, “the kids still find it fun and everyone wins!”.

Valerie says when she first began directing New Games, (she has been with the program over a year), the kids responded without enthusiasm to the idea of non-competitive and non-violent games. However, over time, the children have learned very valuable teamwork and collaboration skills, even providing their own suggestions of how the games could run more effectively for them: “[it] teaches our participants you don’t have to be competitive or be a winner to be successful, [and] you can cheer on your fellow team member”, Valerie stated.

For the volunteers, Valerie says, the program has also changed them, “it makes them change their ideas of volunteering - it’s fun”. Valerie says New Games help promote the idea of collaboration even in realms outside of their program. She says, “the kids take this idea of teamwork into their schoolwork and life”, giving them that broader context of working together to achieve a goal or just to have fun. In a society where children have to compete in every arena of their life (school, home, sports) New Games teaches them to value the power of community and collaboration.