For most of the afternoon on Saturday, June 23, the afterschool program Beyond the Classroom (BTC) became home to conquests of mystery, adventure, and strategy.
During this period of time, individuals were given the opportunity to try their hand at a myriad of lesser known board games in an event curated by a local dad. For the five hour long affair, the classroom was littered with different games, which were demonstrated by a number of board game instructors who helped to facilitate play.
Bruce Kaplan, the father of a Beyond the Classroom student, started hosting these board game sessions around half a year ago. At first, his event started with a small table-full of students. Now, with the help of BTC, his event has grown to encompass whole families and many other lovers of board games.
For this event in specific, Kaplan planned a few special things to keep the day special. For the first two hours, only family games were played. After that, participants were free to mingle with other gamers, while choosing from the load of games in Kaplan’s personal collection. In addition, Kaplan contacted board game designer Joey Vigor, who presented the new game that he has been developing.
Admission for the event was $5, but kids ages 7-15 got in free with an accompanying adult between three and five p.m.. All proceeds went directly towards Beyond the Classroom.
The culmination of these details made for an incredibly special atmosphere, one that Kaplan and the Beyond the Classroom staff aims to present to their young students.
As an organization, BTC aims to provide a fun, educational environment to show kids a space similar to a functioning neighborhood. For both Kaplan and the program, there is a feeling of specialness and intimacy that has started to disappear with the popularity of video games. So when students voiced interest in board games, BTC and the community responded.
“We provide enrichment classes based on the interest of the kids, so we set up the board games to help teach students who were interested.” said director Samantha Montes.
Kaplan gladly volunteered to bring in board games for students, and since then has dedicated time on his Fridays towards teaching both social and practical skills through board games. He has grown a collection of different niche, indie games that a person would not typically play, so that he can teach them to the kids of BTC.
“I have a vision to involve my daughter and her friends, so that when they get older, they have a number of interests and skills that will also keep them out of trouble.” said Kaplan.
Kaplan’s goal reaches beyond the scope of the kids themselves; he hopes to connect families and different like minded individuals. As his board game events grow larger, BTC has another medium in which to further their campaign for community closeness and development of the youth.
For information on upcoming board game events, be sure to check out Kaplan’s website.