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The Game Loft

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Welcome to the first edition of Stories from the Game Preserve.


What Is The Game Loft

Number One Exemplary Community-Based After-School
Program in the State of Maine - 2007

The Game Loft is an after-school and vacation program serving school age youth only.

The Game Loft is open from 2 PM until 6 PM Monday through Thursday and until 8:30 PM on Friday for youth over the age of 12. Monday is Young Gamers Day with programming appropriate for kids 12 and under. The Loft has extended hours for early release days and during school vacations and holidays.

The Game Loft serves 15 - 35 young people daily. Space for quiet times are available to all participants as needed.

The program provides recreation services to school-age children. The mission is to provide Positive Youth Development through games. The staff is familiar with the precepts of Positive Youth Development and strives to make sure that these goals are in place at all times. The rules of the program are reviewed with all participants and are posted prominently.

Parents are involved as volunteers and members of the Board of Directors and its various committees.

One hot meal is provided Monday through Friday at 2:30 PM. A snack is provided at 4:00 PM. A second meal is provided Friday evenings at 6:00 PM.

There are no specific times for outdoor recreation due to the age of the participants and the limited time of their daily visits. Indoor activities are appropriate to the developmental needs of the participants. Each participant has a choice of activities.

General support for The Loft comes primarily from individual donations from parents, family members, community members and our many friends. The Loft also receives support from The City of Belfast, United Way of Eastern Maine, United Midcoast Charities and, in collaboration with Broadreach Family and Community Services, receives some program funding from the Funds for a Healthy Maine administered by the Department of Health and Human Services.

If you would like to make a donation, use the donation button on the right side.


What Is The Game Loft's Mission?

I could never repay what I have gained through this program.
~Ross, Game Loft Alumnus

To promote Positive Youth Development through games.

Proposed Vision Statement

To provide an environment where young people are guided to become caring, competent, confident, contributing, and connected adults and are provided with opportunties to serve and experiences that through games leads to increased knowledge and understanding of our world. 

Proposed Values Statement

At The Game Loft we believe that the factors that create good gaming also create good community members and that our standards apply to children, youth, adults, staff, and members of the community.

  • We play well
    • We believe that hard work and commitment bring more success than talent alone
    • We believe that doing one’s best is always important
  • We play fair
    • We believe that honesty and integrity are essential in everything we do
  • We play to have fun
    • We believe in the values of teamwork, inclusiveness, and mutual respect for all people
    • We believe that promoting positive development for young people and adults is our ultimate goal

A Community of Interest Based on Games

If you talk to Loft kids about The Game Loft they will tell you that Friends, Food and Being Safe is what is important about the program. Of course, they might mention games too but the games are merely what initially brings them through the door. If you talk to Loft kids who have regularly attended the program they might also mention opportunities to learn, to belong and to serve. Of course, they might mention games too.

At the Loft we know that good things happen to kids through games and The Loft kids can identify these good outcomes with ease. Our games program is designed to encourage these good outcomes. There are three types of games at The Loft:

Special Program games are those run under the Trailblazers, Navigators or Pathfinders programs. These games are designed with a variety of outcomes based on the program.

Staff games are those run by Loft staff as part of the after school program. These games are designed to promote inclusion, involvement and belonging. Our goal is that every Loft  kid participate in two activities a week.

Member games are those run by Loft teen volunteers either for their peers or younger age groups. These games also promote socialization and involvement as well as building competency for the volunteer.

Games are organized to run in seasons of six weeks each followed by a two week break period. These break periods are used for special events, one time games and enrollment for the next seasons.


Differences between The Game Loft and a Game Store

  1. The Game Loft is a non-profit organization, 501(C)3 not a for-profit business, 501(C)3.
  2. The Game Loft's priority is the youth, not selling merchandise.
  3. The Game Loft staff uses games to teach skills.
  4. The Game Loft is owned by a Board of Directors, not a business owner
  5. The Game Loft provides materials needed for games; they do not need to be purchased.
  6. The Game Loft conducts background checks for staff and volunteers.
  7. The Loft exists for the benefit of it's youth participants; a store for the benefit of paying customers
  8. Game Loft participants are expected to perform many community service projects; store personnel are generally not expected to do this although many do
  9. The Game Loft allows a place for kids to go and hang out; this is not an appropriate activity in a store.
  10. The Game Loft serves a full free meal daily plus afternoon snacks; retail stores, if they do serve food, charge for it
  11. The Game Loft conducts outreach programs to inform students and parents about the services offered and the strengths of gaming in general (for example, visiting schools or speaking at community groups).
  12. Game Loft staff members communicate with parents and keep them abreast of their child's activities at the Loft.

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