Every metropolitan area has its local claim-to-fame.
And when it comes to the District, our national rep is being the hub for all things non-profit. Whether you work for a NPO rooted in medical activism or an organization associated with children’s education, D.C. is the place to gain your footing.
But something that isn’t mentioned when it comes to non-profit work is how taxing it can truly be. For many NPO’s, you are dealing with a larger societal issue and a lack of key resources needed to do so.
Sure, you’ve got an amazing team that works night and day, but the problem with that team is that they can’t always be on work mode. Call it “The Shining” effect, but all work and no play makes D.C. a tired city.
Enter: Game Genius.
When I was a kid, my parents always told me to get my fun in while I could because the working world wasn’t going to vibe with “fun.”
But for an organization like Game Genius, fun or rather “play” is a workplace element that can’t be foregone. Take it from their co-founder Peter Williamson.
For years, Williamson had the exciting life of being a touring pro golfer. But when his wife got the opportunity of a lifetime here in the District, it was then and there that Peter decided to anchor himself and see what the District was made of.
“In almost every community, a sense of play is always centered or desired,” Williamson says.
Quickly seeing that D.C. was a great place to community-build, Williamson knew his contribution to this amazingly bonded city was to instill his trademark love for play with Game Genius.
And fortunate for me, Williamson got to explain Game Genius’ entire approach over a wonderful interview.
Who is Game Genius?
When Williamson first explained to me who Game Genius was, I quickly interpreted them as “the non-profit’s non-profit.”
An organization rooted in team-building and creative solutions, Game Genius seeks to improve the way local NPO’s work by teaching teams to have fun when facing problems.
“With Game Genius and our many activities, we hope to have local orgs better connecting and being able to share their needs more effectively,” Williamson implores.
“It’s not a matter of making light of responsibilities. More so, it’s about celebrating success.”
Having spent my first months in D.C. as part of an overworked NPO team, I immediately felt seen by Williamson’s desire to make outreach fun.
Granted, I didn’t have the faintest idea on how it could be achieved, but then Williamson mentioned Game Genius’ upcoming “Play Week.”
Play Week and Literacy
Game Genius’ Play Week is an annual opportunity for local advocates to work on their teamwork skills by crafting a game.
From story-crafting to design workshops to even active game-testing, it’s the DMV’s chance to create an all-welcoming activity that not only instills a positive view of community-building but also works to address local issues with its gameplay.
This year, the focus at hand is addressing literacy. But like Williamson says on Game Genius’ web page, literacy isn’t just something you find in a book.
“Learn to read, but also read to learn. Our approach to literacy can be civic, financial and cultural. With such a diverse community in D.C., it’s our duty to reach out and connect.”
Goals and Future Fun
Game Genius’ philosophy for this year’s Play Week is to get people chatting and collaborating.
In a city with so many minds worth listening to, it’s amazing that we have a week-long opportunity bent on bringing together folks for a great cause.
“The rising tide lifts all ships,”Williamson mentions. “It’s important we create a system of local non-profits that supports each other and seeks to unite. It’s a puzzle and play just so happens to be a big part of that puzzle.”
The efforts during this month’s Play Week (March 20-26) will layer into this year’s “District Hunt” in the fall.
All the strides made in Game Genius’ series of workshops and collabs are dedicated to making District Hunt an event that lives up to its pro-literacy goal and ensures mountains of fun in the District.
Work will always be work, but who says it can’t be fun sometimes?
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