Teaching Democracy and Cooperation to Youth through Games

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Youth Action Coalition (YAC) promotes youth empowerment through creative expression and social action projects. YAC’s core program, Arts-for-Change (AfC), is a series of distinct arts and media projects that pairs intensive arts immersion with social justice education.

AfC provides youth from across the race/class/social spectrum access to free, high quality arts programming, helping youth break down barriers, and offering a safe space for shared dialogue and collaboration.

TESA Works with Youth Action Coalition to Deliver Co-opoly Workshops
In 2010, TESA was invited by the Youth Action Coalition to deliver Co-opoly: The Game of Cooperatives workshops to three of their different youth groups that explored Cooperatives, Democratic Workplaces, and Hands-on Cooperative Skills.

Challenges Faced
YAC wanted to have their students learn about cooperatives, the new economy movement, and democratic spaces. Furthermore, they wanted their youth to learn about these things is a participatory, fun, and hands-on way.

How TESA Helped
TESA was thrilled to be able to meet YAC’s hopes and goal for a workshop with Co-opoly. TESA worked with YAC staff and their student members to build three unique workshops to fit the different needs, age groups, and settings of each one of the workshops. Topics of discussion ranged from what is work, to what is democracy. The youth thoroughly enjoyed playing Co-opoly, and learned a lot of hands on cooperative skills such as consensus building, cooperative management, and cooperative financial skills.Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 5.59.54 PM

What would you say to others about TESA?

In December, a local co-op came to Get Up Get Down, a program of Youth Action Coalition that I coordinate. They ran a workshop with our youth about co-operatives and the great things co-ops can do for us and for our communities. The facilitators were very knowledgeable, engaging, flexible and fun to work with. Together, we came up with a workshop structure that worked well within our context and with our specific youth. The youth got to think about their visions for the future and their conceptions of work, and understand a little more about the possibility that co-ops offer. We then played the game Co-opoly, which further informed their knowledge of how a co-op could actually work. It was really fun, hands-on, and a great experience for all.

-YAC Staff

A Note from TESA
YAC is an awesome organization in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts that has been creating change and allowing for youth leadership and expression in the Pioneer Valley, and it was a real honor to be able to work with so many of their groups and youth. The students were excited to learn about democratic movements, and showed cooperative skills and attitude that a lot of our adult players could learn from.

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