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How to Motivate Young Players

Hello again,

Continuing on the series regarding the RPG program I am developing at the local Parks and recreation center, I found myself wanting to learn a little bit more about how I can leverage the program into greater involvement and care from the students for their community.

To this end, I found an article describing how teenagers find the motivation to volunteer. One point the article made that I found interesting was that teenagers, unlike adults, were less likely to volunteer when their self-esteem was high. The article suggested that teenagers might use volunteering to demonstrate or prove that they are good people. This was interesting because I often find myself as an adult more motivated when I feel better about myself and my circumstances. That is, I don't use volunteering as an opportunity to carve myself into a better version of who I want to be.

Obviously, I don't want my program to reduce teenagers' self-esteem so that they are more inclined to volunteer! Thankfully, there was another point made in the article wherein the authors suggest that teenagers are more likely to volunteer when the task at hand is more interesting. I'm biased when I say this, but I definitely think role-playing games are interesting! I'm wondering if there's an opportunity here for using not just the play as a means to engage the kids, but also as an opportunity for the kids to turn the play into a pro-social, altruistic task.

I don't know if there is a market for fundraising through actual plays. I mean, obviously, there's a market for it, but I'm not sure if it's not already so saturated that it wouldn't be worth my students' time to produce such a product even just for a one-shot or single charitable event.

Perhaps, as I develop the story that I will be playing with the kids, what I can do is frame common and traditional volunteer tasks as exciting within the context of the RPG plot. I can easily visualize a quest or plot hook where the heroes have to prepare rations and take it upon themselves to deliver these rations to the impoverished members of the game setting's community. Maybe there is a leftover elemental that possesses all the uneaten food that they're unable to hand out so that they are more motivated to get all the food where it needs to go!

What do you think? Are there volunteer tasks that you find more interesting than others? Are there volunteer tasks that you don't think are interesting but have ideas that can make them more engaging? Would planning to do an actual play fundraiser with my kids be worthwhile?

Once again, thank you for reading, and as always, please continue to write your story, and be well!

Matthieu A.F. Fortier

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