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Gaming Tournament

I have always enjoyed video games. Maybe it’s the story they tell, being like a movie that you, the player, control the outcome, or maybe the characters that are in the game. It could even be an escape from the world. Whatever the reason I am drawn to them. Most of the time when people think “gaming” they often think of cards, or electronic gaming, however it isn’t limited to just those two, and it isn’t limited to a certain age group. The term gaming can be enjoyed by anyone.  When I was asked to set up a gaming tournament for the CLC, I didn’t know what to expect at first. I had never really planned and hosted an event like this before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The event was a huge success and if the opportunity arises I would certainly do it again.  

One of the first things I did, before anything else, was research how to run a gaming club/tournament. One of the articles I found, written by Keith Levy, had some very useful information that I based most of the set up and event on. Once my planning had officially started I made up a checklist and a general information account. I created a flyer to get the word out, and as it went through changes, so did the event. I had originally planned to have the event be open for middle school and older, but anyone under 18 must have supervision of some sort, so  an age restriction of 18 was established. The event was set to be held July 16th. After looking around for a possible prize, and realizing without a company sponsor, the price of a gift card or some other prize would cost too much. After talking about other ideas and looking at other more affordable methods, the idea to make and give away a trophy was born. The idea for this trophy came from car shows or other events  in which the trophy is made out of parts that have to do with the event. The trophy was made from two old game cases, serving as the stand. An old controller for the top, and a small old metal pole holding it all together, and serving as a handle. 

Once the trophy was built advertising began and sign ups started, or so I’d like to say. One of the biggest problems I faced was the audience and who was allowed to enter. As I’ve said, the event was originally going to be for ages 18 and over. Once I realized that those people in that age range we’re more likely to work during that time, I had to come up with a plan B. Plan B invloved approaching the director of a youth group, and seeing if the group would be interested, provided he or someone else was available to supervise. After a few emails back and forth plan B was set into motion and the new event was to be held July 22nd. After a few more preparations including testing the system, controllers and making a bracket,  the event was ready. 

The tournament ran smoothly with no problems on the day of the event. I gave a short presentation and after the participants chose a nickname the games began. The tournament was a single elimination for the Super Smash Bros portion. The bracket was randomly generated and participants faced off two at a time. Once a match was concluded, set up for the next began. Set-up between each match was short and to the point, since for the most part all battle stages were random, and if they weren’t, one player knew which stage they wanted.  

Some matches were short, and some went on for a bit longer, depending on the players. There were a number of participants that had never played before, however they were great sports and went along with the greatest strategy of press buttons to win, and for some it actually worked. During some points, the TV would cut out for a second and while this may seem like a bad thing, it actually became a good thing. Sure, the players couldn’t see what was happening for a second, but it added suspense to the match, of what would happen. After trying to fix the problem, troubleshooting a cord, we as a group decided to just go with it. As the final match-up approached, time was running short, with not much hope left for the second event. The finals ended with around twenty minutes, just enough time for a round of Mario Kart. I had wished I had only done Mario Kart, as it seemed to be the much more popular game. While some played, the rest filled out a short questionnaire about the event. After a few races, it was time to end the event, and the first gaming event of CLC had come to an end. 

This entire experience was new to me. I had no idea how the event would be perceived. I was afraid the audience wouldn’t enjoy the games I chose, considering after talking to some parents, most younger kids play other games that I wouldn’t normally play. I also expected there to be many more flaws, however any flaw, such as the TV fading out, was made into a positive. I thought a majority of the audience that came in, wouldn’t have fun, however from my observation just about everyone had fun, even if they had no idea what they were doing. One of the unfortunate aspects was one game took much longer than I thought it would. If I had known this I would have only made the tournament one game. With few to no flaws the tournament was a success, and in the future I’d love to host an event like it again, or maybe even something new.  

Gaming is something just about anybody can pick up.  Some people may be more reluctant about trying certain types depending on their age, but in the end, even those people are seen playing some sort of game. Gaming is also not limited to electronics or cards. It also includes chess, board games, and tabletop RPGS. While I tend to gravitate toward electronic games, I still enjoy cards, and board games, and would love to branch out in hosting some other style of gaming tournament. With all that said, You should never be afraid to try a game you wouldn’t normally try. If an opportunity arises to do something you enjoy, don’t hesitate in saying yes, because if you wait too long the opportunity will slip by and you will have lost your chance.      

Farmers Market

Come one come all, to a great community event hosted at the Community Learning Center it’s: The Farmers Market!!! 

Farmer’s markets are a great way to get out and find homemade homegrown, and home crafted items you wouldn’t find elsewhere. A farmer’s market may be the perfect way to get out and enjoy sunshine, friends, and support our local  vendors. These types of events are fun to attend, as you don’t know what you’ll find. With so many vendors selling different things you could find almost anything you want, plus markets in smaller towns like Kendallville you could very well find the unexpected. That’s the glory of a farmer’s market.  

The farmer’s market has been a huge success since its start in late May. Not only does it include vendors selling specialty items, but also food, plants, produce, and craft jewelry. Maybe you’re hungry for some fresh baked goods or maybe have a  sweet tooth?  Baked goods such as cookies, cupcakes, and donuts are made and sold by our community members. The market is an open and free event, showing up anyway is, buying items of course may cost you. Come join and support the local community every other Saturday 8-10am, you never know what you might find. 

Guitar Lessons

There’s always that one thing we aspire to learn and  say “I’m learning how to _______ no matter what,” then we get busy and never follow through. For some that “thing” was learning guitar. From June 22nd-July 13th, 4-5pm, The CLC offered guitar lessons. Lessons cost $20 for the full four classes or $5 for each class. They were taught by middle school band director; Kevin Haydl. The lessons were open to all ages and covered the fundamentals from basic guitar playing, to an intermediate level.

The lessons started with a quick crash course of the proper way to hold a guitar. After that the first class began for real with familizing each participant with the six basic strings of the guitar. Following that was moving up and down the neck of frets 1-4 while strumming the first string. Every lesson was structured roughly the same. Instructor Haydl would first play the exercise, then break it down for the participants to learn in a way they could understand. Participants would then practice on their own at their own pace, while Instructor Haydl would provide help and feedback to better each participant. Eventually moving on to a different part of the exercise, and following the same structure. Eventually the full exercise was learned and participants were given time to practice it as a whole until playing as a group. The last part of each lesson varied. The last part of the first lesson was a small preview into chords.

The second lesson started with  Instructor Haydl giving a  mini lesson on how to tune a guitar, and helping each participant tune. The tuning followed with a quick review of the previous week, then moving on to the second string practicing  identical exercises from the past week, focusing on the second string. The structure was similar to the first lesson. The second week ended with an introduction to “Ode to Joy”, which introduced  the concept of switching between the two strings learned so far to a more advanced and structured melody. 

The third class went more in depth with “Ode to Joy”, also including an easier way to play the chords over the song, before trying “the pretzel hand chords” as Instructor Haydl called them.  The end of the third class, participants received a new song, “Love Me Tender. Much like “Ode to Joy” it is a simpler variation. The biggest problem with this song was it used the third string which at this point hadn’t been used before.  With an introduction as simple as, “This is where this note is and this is how to play it”, the third week ended and practice began. 

The final week ahead would put together everything the class learned and bring it all together. With a long week of practice and maybe some finger sprains along the way, the final week was here and the lessons came to a close. The final lessons consisted of playing through “Love Me Tender” with the similar structure of the previous weeks and then attempting some much more advanced songs that participants requested such as “In My Life” by The Beatles. The other part of the lesson was dedicated to scales and how to play them. The biggest problem with playing scales is in order to be  efficient, one must forget everything they learned about  finger placement from the basics and learn an entirely new method. The good thing about scales is once you know one, you can play just about any scale. While the notes change with each scale, the pattern remains the same and even some parts of different scales come together. Scales are any guitar player’s best friend.  By learning every scale you can play just about anything.  

One of the best aspects of these classes is no prior guitar or  musical knowledge was necessary.  While it certainly benefits to have this knowledge, and while you may not always have tabs in front of you, they are a great place to start for beginners. Another great aspect is with each week’s lessons  the exercises got more and more advanced, and tested how much the participants practice.. With that said the lessons were all basic and very beginner friendly.  The lessons not only covered the basics of playing guitar, but also learning chords. Whether the chords are as simple as holding a string and strumming, in which Instructor Haydl called “The cheater way,” or putting your hand in a pretzel, whatever method you chose, learning is all part of the fun. The guitar lessons were a huge success since starting and we have had many requests for a second round. Keep an eye out for more information on when these lessons will start.  

If you’re one of those people that have a strong desire to learn a new skill, whether that’s guitar, or how to sew, or even how to bake, don’t hold off on doing it.  It may not go well in the beginning, but you won’t get better unless you keep at it. If it’s really something you’re not interested in, you’ll know after the first time you try it. The best advice I can give is, don’t wait to learn something just because time is a problem. If you do you’ll never accomplish what you set out to do. All it takes is a little push to start, then it’s all on you to follow through with the real learning.