Friday, August 23, 2013

The FLGS That Levelled-up into a Non-Profit Youth Center

Positive youth development through games. Read on:

"In 1996, Ray and Patricia Estabrook opened a retail store, All About Games, in Belfast [Maine]. Shortly after All About Games opened, the Estabrooks found their shop filled to bursting with youth of all ages who wanted to play (or learn how to play) non-electronic games. They tried to incorporate the game playing into the running of their store, but  eventually realized their store could not be a business and a youth center at the same time. Instead of just kicking the kids out and going on with their lives, they saw that there was a serious need for a place for the youth of Belfast to go and decided to do something about it..." 

[From the Game Loft website]

So they morphed from a gaming store to a non-profit youth center. And they're still going strong today. In fact, they just got their independent IRS non-profit status so that donations can be made directly instead of through an umbrella organization. You can donate here.

The Game Loft runs table-top games for local teens, often integrates military history and local history into their activities. They run LARP combats, MtG tourneys, you name it. They even feed the kids hot dinners.

OK, here's my challenge to you. Choose your own adventure:
  • go to and donate right now.
  • if you own a gaming store, consider switching to the Game Loft model. Or if you are a patron of a gaming store that's choked full of young people but struggles to make a profit, wise the owners up to The Game Loft.
  • Join the Game Loft's Facebook page and tell them what a great job they're doing.


  1. This sounds awesome. That's what I like about your blog: you write about stuff like this, not just providing your fabulous maps and things.

  2. I work in the non-profit youth development field and have often been met with a raised Vulcan eyebrow from YD staff when I have suggested that maybe I should run some RPGs at one of our after-school program sites. Need to point them towards this article!


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