This past summer, with the suggestion of a few Teen Advisory Board members, my Youth Librarian and I started a Dungeons & Dragons group at the library. Now, the only experience I had with Dungeons & Dragons was from my college years, and the story involves me excusing myself to use the restroom and never coming back. That being said, I honestly didn’t have too much faith that the program would go very far. I’m happy to say, though, that I was wrong!
If you don’t know what Dungeons & Dragons is, that’s okay – it’s only been around for years and years. A role playing game, each player creates a character, choosing from a plethora of fantasy species and races. One person designates him or herself as Dungeon Master and dictates a story that the other participants’ characters play along in. Different denominations of dice are used to determine variables in the game, like damage points in battles and strength checks.
Thankfully, the few teens who asked for the program had TONS of knowledge and experience with the game and gladly volunteered themselves Dungeon Masters. For the first few weeks, we had a small gathering of middle school students, and I sat back and watched. At some point, my Youth Librarian created a character, which I ended up adopting as scheduling conflicts disallowed her from chaperoning the program. As I got involved, I’ve had the chance to both learn more about the game and understand and witness the passion the teens who are coming to the program have for it.
Now whether it’s the free snacks or the game itself, the program has developed quite the following. Over time, our little D&D group has grown to 16 teens ranging from 13 to 17! Every week, everyone in attendance – though sometimes distracted and a little over excited – are actively engaged. It has been great to watch those who Dungeon Master develop their skills. Now I look forward every week to the program, and I’m excited to see it – and hopefully other teen programs – grow.