TRURO, N.S. – While playing video games is often seen as a pastime to most, a Truro youth drop-in centre is using video games to raise money.
The Slate Youth Centre is holding its annual fundraising LAN (Local Area Network) Party on Saturday to help raise funds to maintain and upgrade the centre’s technology.
“A few years back, we were in a spot where we had two computers, but found there was a bit too much demand for them and needed a couple more,” said Chris Zak, senior volunteer for Slate.
“Being a non-profit organization, we always have to do fundraisers of sorts, so I thought people get sponsors to go for walks, ride bikes, do whatever. Why not get people to sponsor us to play computer games?”
This is the fifth year the centre has held the LAN party, which brings gamers together to play co-operative or competitive games in the same location, and has used the money raised from previous events to purchase new computers, computer parts to teach teens how to build a PC, and other technology upgrades for the centre.
“It was a neat experiment that worked out not too badly, all things considered,” said Zak.
“We’re actually about to use some of the money from last year’s event to purchase a new iMac which we’re going to use for making YouTube videos and stuff like that.”
The party will take place at the centre at 883 Prince St., and will run from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., giving gamers a full 12 hours to play.
“We do a few other LAN parties throughout the course of the year, but those are usually only from noon to 8-9 p.m. The whole thing with this one is it’s the marathon LAN party, a whole 12 hours. We like to joke that it is a test of endurance,” said Zak.
In order to participate in the LAN party, players are asked to collect a minimum of $30 in sponsor donations beforehand, similar to how runners raise money through sponsors for marathons.
While participants are encouraged to bring their own computers, there are four computers available at the centre for those who may not have access to one.
The party is open to all ages, and there are little to no restrictions on what games can be played, as long as they have a multiplayer function.
“We’ve had some folks come by in the past looking to play some single-player games, but the whole point is to play together,” said Zak.
“There is a community aspect to it, and because you are all in the same room, you can banter back and forth and strategize on the fly.”
Aside from the LAN party, Slate will also be holding pancake breakfasts every Saturday throughout February from 8-10:30 a.m. to raise money to send a group of teens to the Dominican for service work.
“Last year, they helped build a house for a gentleman who is running a teen art school down there,” said Zak.
“Not only does it help the folks down there, but it also helps our teens look outside themselves as well, to take in the world and learn the benefits of helping others.”
If You Go
Slate’s Annual 12-Hour LAN Party
Saturday, Jan. 27 – 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
Slate Youth Centre – 883 Prince St.
Minimum $30 in donations needed per player
Donation sheets can be picked up at the centre, or by messaging Chris Zak through Slate’s Facebook Page. (www.facebook.com/SlateYouthCentre)