Saturday, 03 May 2003 12:11


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Are you wondering, what in the world are "Simulation Games." Well, Graeme Codrington has put together an excellent explanation. Instead of trying to develop my own, I am going to give you his explanation and example of a "Simulation Game." I appreciate this excellent explanation and example, and if you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me. The explanation is as follows: Hi, Simulation games started as a concept of introducing young people to real life in "simulated" activities (much like an airline pilot gets to fly a simulator before the give him/her the real thing to mess up). In youth groups, then, simulation games are meant to take that big, bad and ugly thing called the "Adult-Real World" and reduce a specific aspect of it to an experience that the young people (or in fact, business leaders - which is where t started) can go through. The key to simulation games is the "de-briefing" at the end, when the implications are discussed. Most simulation games pull at the emotions, forcing participants to analyze their own feelings and emotions. Because of this, they can often be very difficult to control. As an example (and one I would NOT follow, and for which the original youth pastor got fired) took place in my home country (South Africa) a few years ago. As you probably know, SA has been characterized by violence between black and white for many years, as we struggled for freedom from an unjust government. The institutionalized church (mainly Afrikaans) used Scripture to back up their belief in apartheid (the policy of racial segregation and white supremacy). Anyway, this youth pastor of a conservative white youth group, invited some of his black friends from the local township to come to the church during a Friday night program, and hi-jack the youth group. They used real guns, and after kicking the door down, shouted for all the Christians to come outside to be shot to death. Only the youth pastor was aware that it was staged. One of my friends was then 16 years old, and said he was absolutely petrified - but he went outside with about a quarter of the youth group. The group was then brought together and calmed down (sugar water, warm blankets, etc), and these four black young people gave their testimonies about growing up in an oppressive state but still being true to their Christian beliefs. As I said, this one was WAY over the top and *Folks, don't try this at home*. But, it followed the principles of simulations games - it reproduced real feelings (in this case, a bit too real), and thus sparked debate. You can imagine what came out of that evening (including the good stuff through discussion and challenge to the young people, came the youth pastor's unemployed state). There are hundreds of others, and as you get the hang of it, you can design your own. I am sending one example through a separate mail that deals with social classes, and how the rich oppress the poor. ENJOY.

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