Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Great Group Games in New Places

We received this letter from a woman using games from our Great Group Games book in the prison system. It's amazing to see how many different types of organizations and businesses and schools can use this resource! It's exciting to see! You can read more about the Great Group Games book on our Games blog. And you can even add your own favorite games!

The women in our program are truly enjoying the games in your book. Just to give you some background... I work at the Tennessee Prison for Women (the only maximum security prison for women in the state). I am a Substance Abuse Counselor in the Therapeutic Community, which is a long-term substance abuse program within the prison. The ladies in our program are incarcerated for charges related to their addiction to drugs or alcohol ( i.e.- vehicular homicide, possession of controlled substances, child abuse, etc.) We primarily utilize cognitive-behavioral therapy to address their criminal thinking and anti-social behaviors.

Our program is structured as a hierarchy- every person in the program has a function and responsibility. They are all put on different crews, such as Education Crew, Service Crew, Orientation Crew, and Creative Energy Crew, just to name a few. The responsibility of the Creative Energy Crew is to motivate the women first thing in the morning with some type of game, skit, activity before they start their therapeutic groups. As you can imagine, having to do this every day, they are running out of ideas. When I saw your book, I thought it would be perfect to help give them some great ideas that require little preparation and few props. It is ideal because we are limited (as staff) as to what we can actually bring into the prison. Most things are considered contraband, so it gets challenging for us to "think outside the box" when it comes to motivating the inmates.

So far, they LOVE the games! This morning, in fact, they did the one where they have to sing their name to the group and then the group in unison sings it back to them. We were all laughing hysterically and it got the day off to a great start.

The book truly give ideas that are great for any setting-- from a corporate group to inmates in prison. Thank you for your contribution and we are going to keep on having fun!

Amber Stevenson