By Melissa Chalmer, Volunteer
As a member of the Nintendo Generation, I was ecstatic to learn that the Pratt Library Wii system was going to make its debut at the Roland Park Branch. I was asked to pilot the three-day Teen Wii program because of my teaching experience with teenagers and my experience assisting Stefanie Thomas, the Roland Park Children/Teen Librarian with Mother Goose and Preschool Leaps programs.
I began by recruiting teens through word of mouth. I was excited that just as I finished setting up the Wii on the first day, ten teenagers entered the Meeting Room ready to go. Monday’s game was Wii Sports. I established a rule that the teens could only play four player games so that everyone could have more time to play the game. The teens voted on regular bowling and played six rotations. This game was brilliant because both boys and girls enjoyed it. When they tired of that game, they switched to one hundred pin bowling until it was time to end the program. Some of the teens played Uno while waiting their turn while others decided to play the role of spectator. Their conversations ranged from the game, to what they were doing on summer vacation.
On the second day, five more teens joined for a total of fifteen. It was Mario Kart day. The teens were busy discussing the best overall character/”kart” combinations. Finally, they asked me to play a race. I chose Baby Peach and the Cheep Charger. The kids sniggered because the baby characters are very light and can easily get knocked off course by the larger characters. The flag went down and I flew through all three circuits around the track. They were in shock and my “street cred” was firmly established among the teens.
The final day Super Mario Bash Brothers was played with a total of twenty teen participants. If I thought the discussion on characters and “karts” was heated the day before, I was in for a treat on that day!
As the Wii Marathon was coming to a close, the teens were enthusiastic and asked if the Roland Park Branch would get the system again. The Wii Marathon at Roland Park was a success! Would I run the program again? Absolutely! It is enjoyable and I have to retain my title as the best Mario Kart driver!