Game Loft News

Inside the Agency: Theme Week 2009












From August 24 to August 28, Game Loft members experienced the Dark Side. This year’s theme week, titled “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” gave everyone the opportunity to develop a less-than-upstanding character, the reverse of standard Game Loft protocol.

Each day, members had to undergo a retina scan and secret password (thanks to the innovative inventiveness and artistry of staff member Kali Rocheleau) and were whisked into the world of the Agency, an evil-for-hire organization.

 Agents J and K, the Agency’s “Women in Black,” guided and directed members through the password and assignment processes, as well as distributing the secret, unidentified meals, in brown-bag packages labeled “A” or “B”.

The Agency’s founding director, Ms. Moneypenny (played by Patricia Estabrook) assigned members to missions each day (inside Ms. Moneypenny's office, pictured above), including destroying dinosaurs to build a parking lot, assassinating Superman…even Goldilocks and the Three Bears weren’t safe from Agency interference, and the employed Game Loft members proved just how different the world would be with The Agency  turning things upside down.


Game Loft Volunteers Re-enact Henry Hudson's Landing

h._hudson1.jpg July 25th, 2009, the famed explorer and dignitary Henry Hudson arrived on the shores of Belfast, Maine, in Heritage Park, to much cheers and applause. His safe arrival was assured by the combined efforts of Come Boating and their faithful trainees, some very strong, coordinated, and motivated members of the Game Loft.

The original voyage took place in 1609, when Hudson worked for the Dutch East India Company. The re-enactment commemorated this historic landing, and provided an authentic glimpse into living history. Attendees included Maine State Representative Jayne Crosby Giles, along with the General Consul of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Honorable Gajus Scheltema.

The Game Loft volunteers were so successful at their first rowing experience—after only one day of training! - that Come Boating has invited us to start a youth rowing team. We’re very excited to have this opportunity to integrate maritime history into our role playing options, as well as adding some physical exercise!

Game Loft merges with Spurwink Services

the_signing_away_of_the_loft.jpgThe Game Loft, Belfast 's downtown youth center, is pleased to announce that on July 1, 2009 it merged with Spurwink Services of Portland, Maine. The Game Loft was established in 1998 to provide youth development services to young people through the use of non-electronic games. Throughout its eleven year history as an independent youth center it has provided award-winning services to the community's youth. In 2000 Ray and Patricia Estabrook won the prestigious Jefferson Award for their work in founding The Game Loft. In 2008 The Game Loft won the Exemplary After-School Program of the Year from the Maine After-School Alliance. In 2009 James Knight won the Governor's Youth Volunteer of the Year Award from the Maine Commission for Community Service. These awards demonstrate the consistently high quality of the programming at The Game Loft. The Game Loft is pleased to be able to continue its work in the community and to increase its quality of services.

“The Game Loft has always offered exciting educational and social enrichment programs for young people in the community,” said Ray Estabrook, program co-director. “Now as part of Spurwink Services we will be able to do more creative programs and reach more kids.”

Spurwink Services is a nationally accredited non-profit organization providing behavioral health, education, and residential services for children, adolescents, adults, and families. With a commitment to quality services, and the recruitment of caring, compassionate professionals, Spurwink has gained a reputation for excellence in evidence-based treatment and service delivery throughout New England , Canada , and beyond.

As a program of Spurwink Services, The Game Loft will continue to involve youth and families to promote personal growth and education, give opportunities for creativity, help build strong relationships that emphasize each person's strengths and competencies, and prepares youth for the future.

A word from the Board of Directors:

The Board of Directors of New Strategies for Youth sought for over two years for an affiliation that would insure the long-term sustainability of The Game Loft program. The merger with Spurwink satisfies that goal and our Board adopted a resolution that formerly dissolved New Strategies for Youth and delivered the assets, including our existing contracts, to Spurwink Services. This was a decision that the Board worked on for over six months and we feel that this move will make sure that The Game Loft continues to serve area youth for years to come as well as expand our services in new directions. The Loft will continue to serve as a local community based organization with the support of our large community of friends and donors but now has the additional support of one of the premier social service agencies in Maine . Thank you for your continued support of The Game Loft.

Silas Walsh, President


A personal note from the Directors: At the official signing ceremony that merged The Game Loft with Spurwink Ray had this to say, “Yesterday Charles asked how I felt about the sale of The Game Loft and after some consideration I replied that we felt like captains of a pirate ship after a eleven and a half year cruise on the high seas. The voyage was launched on a wish and a throw of the dice; there was never any guarantee we would make it back or keep the ship afloat. And there were many close calls, as many of you know. I feel that we have made it to a safe port; we barely slipped into the harbor, shot full of holes, one mast still standing, listing hard to starboard. But we made it. We’re home. We’re not pirates anymore. But it feels good. So, drop anchor mates.”

And Patricia says, “I ended with a broken fiddle, a broken laugh, a thousand memories and not a single regret.”

Of course she hasn’t ended. Ray and Patricia continue as co-directors, Max Delaney as Senior Program Coordinator, Barry Ferro as Host, Jessica Kunkel as VISTA volunteer, acting as office manager and executive coordinator. The Loft is also benefiting by the work of Americorps volunteer Ellen Marlow and summer youth employment program employees, Kali Rocheleau , Reva Soto, Alex Knight and Emily LaRosa.

The Game Loft will remain in its location at 78A Main Street . For more information about The Game Loft or the merger please call 207-338-6447 and ask for Silas Walsh, Patricia or Ray Estabrook or Jessica Kunkel

Game Loft Goes to the Dogs

Members and staff alike eagerly await the annual end of the year party. It's a chance to celebrate achievements, as members surge forward in education, some moving to the next grade, some graduating and moving to college. It offers a time to reflect upon the connections made and introspection achieved during Game Loft involvment during the preceding year. Some new faces even appear during the party - new faces that we hope soon become old friends.

This year's soiree, like it's predecessors, did not disappoint. The food was amazing; Kitchen Commander Kali Rocheleau served an array of innovative items for a "Feast of Fools." What appeared to be baked potatoes were actually servings of ice cream; scrumptious looking cupcakes turned out to be meatloaf. Dinner was a delicious adventure.

Following the feast, members' commitment to character development was tested in the groundbreaking and innovative "dog" RPG. New heights of gaming were reached - all by getting down on all fours.

Players first chose between being a purebred pooch or a hard-luck mutt. Each category of character came with it's own peculiar set of strengths and weaknesses; for example, mutts had much better survival skills, while purebreds were more skilled at interactions with humans. Dice rolls and specific breeds quickly modified the statistics, and the organized chaos began.

Purebreds participated in a dog show. The event proved melodramatic; the final, most painful blow dealt to the crowds was the award of victor to an imposter: a cat! Word among the mutts had it that member Luke Merrithew's character was involved in the matter; Luke commented, "My inner cat came out." It mattered not once the mutts barged in, lifting legs and raining on the parade.

Members and staff agree that the whole RPG was positively un-fur-gettable - simply doggone amazing.

Game Volunteers on the Move!

moving_the_books.jpg The Game Loft volunteers helped again. The team of Damion Saucier, Reva Soto, Tyler Cross and our soon to be VISTA Jessica Kunkel and partner Warren Falconer showed up on a rainy Sunday to help the Belfast Free Library move its books for their annual book sale. Thanks Team!

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